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NYI Prospects Continue To Shine

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

By Adam Baruch


Jason Gregoire
The Islanders future looks promising as two of the Orange and Blue’s young prospects are up for major awards in the United States Hockey League. Left wing Jason Gregoire of the Lincoln Stars and defenseman Blake Kessel of the Waterloo Black Hawks are each in a group of three finalists for the USHL Forward of the Year and Defenseman of the Year awards respectively. Gregoire is also a finalist for USHL Player of the Year.

"It's nice for them to be nominated in their respective positions," said Assistant GM & Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski. "They worked hard this year and both had good seasons. It's rewarding for them to be recognized for their season-long accomplishments."

Gregoire, a 5-11, 175-pound native of Winnipeg, who was the Islanders’ third round selection (76th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has recorded a league-leading 35 goals to go along with 31 assists for 66 points in 52 games played. He has led the Stars to a 29-22-7 record and a spot in the USHL playoffs. Gregoire’s 14 power play tallies are second in the USHL. In 32 games last season, Gregoire tallied 16 goals and 20 assists with Lincoln – his first season with the team.

Blake Kessel
Kessel, in his second season with Waterloo has put up remarkable numbers as a defenseman. The Islanders’ sixth round selection (166th overall) in the 2007 draft, Kessel has tallied 19 goals to go along with 36 assists for 55 points in 57 games for while helping lead Waterloo to a 36-17-5 record, also clinching a spot in the USHL playoffs. Kessel is the league leader among USHL defensemen for goals and points and his 36 assists are one shy of the league lead. Even though he is a defenseman, Kessel continues to lead his team in points on the season. Last season, Kessel tallied 11 goals and 27 assists in 59 games for the Black Hawks.

"Both will be starting their respective playoff series next week," said Jankowski. "It's a good opportunity for them to raise their game to next level."


USHL AWARD FINALISTS

USHL Defenseman of the Year Award
Sponsored by ProGuard
Matt Bartkowski, Lincoln
John Carlson, Indiana
Blake Kessel, Waterloo

USHL Forward of the Year Award
Sponsored by CCM
Barry Almeida, Omaha
Jack Connolly, Sioux Falls
Jason Gregoire, Lincoln

USHL Player of the Year Award
Sponsored by B2 Networks
Barry Almeida, Omaha
Jack Connolly, Sioux Falls
Jason Gregoire, Lincoln


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