Brian Day, RW
Junior, Colgate University
Day continues to improve steadily in his junior season at Colgate. The Islanders’ sixth pick in the 2006 draft currently leads the Raiders with 16 goals, and is third in points with 26 in 26 games behind Devils prospect David McIntyre and Stars prospect Austin Smith. Day has been more of the triggerman on the team this year, and would have one more if not for a goal being incorrectly waved off going in off his skate.
"One thing I’ve been trying to work on is moving away from the puck," Day told Hockey’s Future in January. "Getting to places where I can score. When you’re playing with McIntyre, Smith and (Francois) Brisebois, they find you. It’s up to me to get to those spots."
Already an alternate captain, Day will likely take a bigger leadership role next season following the departure of current co-captains McIntyre and Ethan Cox.
Jason Gregoire, LW
Sophomore, University of North Dakota
Gregoire got his collegiate career off to a great start last year, and has continued playing well into the 2009-10 season. The 5’11, 175 lb left winger is currently North Dakota’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 11 assists in 29 games. He’s gone back to having more goals than assists, as he did in junior.
"It gets tougher and tougher [to score in] every league," he told Hockey’s Future in January. "It’s good to be back to my old ways as you say. It takes a little time to get used to college hockey, it’s a real good league and a lot of good players. To be scoring means a lot."
The Islanders may want to keep Gregoire at UND for at least another season to get stronger.
Rhett Rakhshani, RW
Senior, University of Denver
After a disappointing end to last season, there was a lot of pressure on newly-appointed captain Rhett Rakhshani to help lead Denver back to the Frozen Four. So far, the 5’10, 180 lb right winger has delivered. He is on pace to set a career high in points, and leads the third-place Pioneers in scoring with 17 goals and 18 assists through 28 games. The Islanders already attempted to sign Rakhshani this past summer, but he opted to return to Denver and complete his degree. His strong character and leadership skills will make him a valuable asset on a very young Islanders team.
Doug Rogers, C
Senior, Harvard University
In his senior year at Harvard, Rogers is having yet another lackluster season. With five goals and five assists in 18 games, he is nowhere near the career-high 32-point total he set in his sophomore year. The Islanders would need to sign him by Aug. 15 if they plan to, but with the wealth of centers in their prospect pool, that doesn’t seem likely.
David Toews, C
Sophomore, University of North Dakota
Toews is developing at a consistent pace in his sophomore season with the Fighting Sioux. After dressing in only 23 games last year, he has already played 27 games this season, posting four goals and nine assists. With plenty of depth down the middle, the Islanders will likely allow the 5’10, 190 lb center to complete his full collegiate eligibility at North Dakota.
Corey Trivino, C
Sophomore, Boston University
After roller coaster freshman season in which he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for over a month, Trivino is starting to look comfortable at the collegiate level. The 6’1, 180 lb center currently has three goals and 10 assists through 25 games, matching his point total from last year. He should keep developing as he continues to bulk up and improve his conditioning.
Matt Donovan, D
Freshman, University of Denver
Donovan’s collegiate career has gotten off to an impressive start. The freshman blueliner is Denver’s second-highest scoring defenseman with four goals and 12 assists in 23 games. He is currently two points shy of Pioneers’ defensive point leader Patrick Wiercioch (OTT) despite playing in three fewer games.
Blake Kessel, D
Sophomore, University of New Hampshire
This has been a breakout season for Kessel. After a steady, but unspectacular freshman campaign last year, Kessel is starting to show the offensive flair that made him the highest scoring defenseman in the USHL two seasons ago. The 6’2, 205 lb blueliner has already doubled his offensive production from last year, and has emerged as an integral part of a young New Hampshire team. He currently has six goals and 22 assists through 24 games, making him the second highest scoring defenseman in the nation. Kessel’s strong performance up to this point has helped the Wildcats take first place in their conference, and recently earned him the honor of being named a semi-finalist for the Walter Brown Award, given to the best American-born college hockey player from New England.
Aaron Ness, D
Sophomore, University of Minnesota
Ness continues to put up steady numbers in his sophomore season at Minnesota. He currently has one goal and nine assists through 28 games, second only to Cade Fairchild (STL) in scoring among Golden Gophers defensemen. While Ness’s offensive production hasn’t improved much from last year, he did add about 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. This is a step in the right direction for the 2008 Mr. Hockey award recipient. Ness has the skill set to be a top offensive defenseman, but needs to bulk up a bit more before he can move up to the pros.
Shane Sims, D
Junior, Ohio State
Despite the Buckeyes’ poor record, Sims is having another solid season in his junior year. The 6’1, 195 lb blueliner leads all Buckeyes defenseman in scoring with five goals and nine assists in 23 games. His cannon of a shot and playmaking skills have made him a key part of the Buckeyes power play, and his +5 rating is indicative of his solid all-around play.
Holly Gunning contributed to this article.