Traditionally, NHL players have not been big on education, at least not education of the post-secondary type. Throughout the history of the league, teams have picked their draftees from the ranks of Canadian junior hockey, whose teams have no direct affiliation with academic institutions. Typical Canadian players, still the vast majority in the NHL, play junior hockey in high school and then go on to the minor leagues without cracking a single textbook again.
According to CSTV, however, the Avalanche has been the most successful team at breaking that tradition:
The Colorado Avalanche was the biggest drafter of college players in the 2001-05 drafts, selecting 21 players from the college ranks (this includes junior hockey players who later played college hockey).
Not only that, but while the Avs have not signed many underclassmen (those below their senior year of college), the two they have signed are working out well so far. David Jones, a junior at Dartmouth, just signed his first NHL contract and the other guy, somebody named Stastny, is a nominee for the Calder Trophy.
With other top university students like TJ Hensick and Ryan Stoa still working their way up into the pros, the Avs' willingness to target collegiate players seems to be paying off.
Not that guys from the juniors aren't successful. Sidney Crosby didn't waste any time sitting in college classes, that's for sure...