Islanders prospects Jason Gregoire and Blake Kessel were recognized for their outstanding seasons in the United States Hockey League. Gregoire, drafted by the Islanders in the third round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft was named the B2 Networks Player of the Year and the CCM Forward of the Year. Kessel, the Islanders’ 2007 sixth round pick of the Entry Draft was named the ProGuard Defenseman of the Year.
"Congratulations to Jason and Blake for earning their respective awards this season," 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 is in his second season with the Stars, serving as their team captain and leading Lincoln in goals (37) and points (69). He was among the league's scoring leaders throughout the season and was chosen to play in the 2008 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game.
Gregoire, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, will play his college hockey beginning next season at the University of North Dakota. Gregoire is the 16th player to receive both the player of the year and forward of the year awards in the same season. He is also the first non-American to be named the USHL's top player since 2000, when Omaha goaltender Dan Ellis won the award. Gregoire's 37 goals were the second-most ever scored in a season for Lincoln.
|Blake Kessel |
Kessel is in his second season with the Waterloo Black Hawks and has become one of the best offensive defenseman the USHL has seen in recent years. After putting up 11-27-38 as a rookie last year, Kessel evolved into the leader of Waterloo's blue line corps and their quarterback on the power play, scoring 19 goals and 57 points in his second USHL season.
The Verona, Wisconsin native is a two-time USHL All-Star and was a member of the USHL All-Rookie Team a year ago. He is committed to play college hockey at the University of New Hampshire.
"Both will be starting their respective playoff series this week," said Jankowski. "It's a good opportunity for them to raise their game to next level."
You can catch both Gregoire and Kessel at this summer's Islanders Prospects Camp held in July at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset.