Gregoire leaving North Dakota for NHL options

North Dakota junior forward Jason Gregoire announced Wednesday that he will forgo his senior year of eligibility next season in order to play professionally.

Gregoire was a third-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2007 NHL draft, but will take advantage of a loophole in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement that allows him to sign with any team should he not be signed by the team that drafted him within 30 days if it’s been four years since being drafted.

Blake Wheeler did the same thing leaving Minnesota several years ago when he left school after his junior year, didn’t sign with Phoenix, and instead signed with Boston.

“I hold the Islanders in the highest regard,” Gregoire said to the Grand Forks Herald. “In no way, shape or form have I ruled them out. I just don’t have all of the information right now to make a decision. I think very highly of them and they think the same of me. They know what’s going to happen as far as me keeping my options open. We’ll talk some more. If they are the best option, I will go with them.”

Gregoire finishes his collegiate career with 109 points (57 goals, 52 assists) in 120 career games and his 15 career game-winning goals tie him for fourth all-time at UND with Brandon Bochenski.