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Four More NYI Prospects Get an Invite

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Blake Kessel
The Islanders have added four more prospects to Junior National Team Development Camps, lifting their total to nine. Islanders 2007 draft pick Blake Kessel and 2008 second round selection Aaron Ness will head to Lake Placid from August 3 through 9 to take part in the United States Junior Development Team Camp. Competing against the United States in Lake Placid will be the Finnish and Swedish Junior National Team squads. Islanders 2008 draft picks Jyri Niemi (Finland) and David Ullstrom (Sweden) will travel to upstate New York with their respective countries.

Kessel, drafted by the Islanders in the sixth round in 2007, had an outstanding 2007-08 season with Waterloo of the USHL, earning the league's Top Defenseman honors. His 19 goals, 38 assists and 57 points led all league defensemen. A Wisconsin native, Kessel will skate for the University of New Hampshire in the fall.

Aaron Ness
A defenseman out of Minnesota, Ness was selected in the second round, 40th overall in 2008. Ness led Roseau High School in Minnesota to a 25-0 regular season record in 2007-08, finishing with 28 goals and 44 assists. His 72 points in 31 games ranked first in Minnesota by high school defensemen. Ness won the "Mr. Hockey" Award as top high school player in Minnesota. On the international scene, Ness helped lead the United States to a Bronze Medal at the 2008 IIHF Under-18 World Championship with six assists.

"It's great for USA Hockey to recognize Blake for the year he had last season and also to honor Aaron for his commitment to USA Hockey with the tournaments he played for them last season," said Assistant General Manager and Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski.

Jyri Niemi
Niemi, chosen by the Islanders in the third round, 72nd overall, finished first in goals with 14 and third in assists with 20 among WHL rookie defensemen in 2007-08. He also registered a 97-mph slap shot at the WHL skills competition prior to playing in the 2008 CHL Top Prospects game.

Ullstrom was selected in the fourth round, 102nd overall at this year's draft by the Islanders. He played for HV 71 in the Swedish Junior League, in 2007-08 where he led the team in goals with 17, assists with 22 and points with 39 during 27 regular season games.

"For Jyri it will be his first crack at playing for the Finnish World Junior team," said Jankowski. "David has played in some tournaments already for Sweden. But to play against competition like the United States it will be a challenge for both players. This will be a great learning tool for all four players and something they can gain valuable experience from."

David Ullstrom
The final selections for the American, Finnish and Swedish teams for the December 2009 World Junior Championship will be selected later this year.

Last week, a league-high five Islanders prospects (including four drafted in 2008) were invited to attend the Canadian Junior Development Camp in Ottawa from July 25-29. Josh Bailey (2008, 1st round), Travis Hamonic (2008, 2nd round), Mark Katic (selected in 2007 in the third round), Jared Spurgeon (2008, 6th round) and Corey Trivino (2008, 2nd round) will join the top 45 junior-aged Canadians as a lead up to final selections for the 2009 World Junior Championship in December. To read a story about the Team Canada selections, click here.

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