Name: Jason Gregoire
Drafted: 2007 3rd round (76 overall) by New York Islanders
I’ll come right out and admit it right away. As a North Dakota native, and alum of the University of North Dakota, where Gregoire starred for three years, I am a bit biased. But not biased just because I like him, but because I have watched him play for three years of college hockey.
Gregoire was never really thought of as ‘the guy’ in any of his years on campus, but an argument could be made for him being UND’s best player each of the past three seasons. His Sophomore year he led the team in goals, and last year he was second in the WCHA in goals per game, despite not playing on a great line like Matt Frattin, who led the league in gpg, did.
The best argument in favor of Gregoire is that while he scored a lot of goals in college, it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when describing his abilities. He’s a smart player who is good in all three zones. He hasn’t gotten much penalty kill time in the preseason, but I think he absolutely could be a penalty killer in the NHL, especially for the Jets.
I have seen split opinions on whether he is ultimately a top 6 or bottom 6 type guy in the future, but the good thing with Gregoire is that I think he can do either. With Ladd and Kane in front of him at LW it seems like he’ll have to be a bottom six guy this year, or spend time in St. John’s, but I think they could shift him to the right wing and have him play 2nd line behind Blake Wheeler (of course that would necessitate bumping Bryan Little back inside).
Whatever the Jets decide to do, with Gregoire’s ability with and without the puck, they certainly have found themselves a player. I suggest he get to know Mark Scheifele, because I think they’ll be quite the combo in future years.