Jason Gregoire has withdrawn from school and will sign an NHL contract this summer.
Because he’s four years removed from his draft year, Gregoire is allowed to take advantage of a loophole in the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows him to withdraw and become a free agent if he’s not signed within 30 days by the team that drafted him.
Gregoire was drafted by the New York Islanders and said it’s very much a possibility that he will sign with them, but he’s keeping his options open and he’s looking to get more information.
Minnesota’s Blake Wheeler is the only other college player known to have taken advantage of this loophole. Most players aren’t able to do it, because they don’t play a year of juniors after they were drafted.
“I hold the Islanders in the highest regard,” Gregoire said. “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 scored 25 goals and had 43 points in 35 games. Only four other Sioux players have scored 25 goals in the Ralph Engelstad Arena era: Matt Frattin, Ryan Duncan, Zach Parise and Brandon Bochenski. All were Hobey finalists. Gregoire did it this season and missed seven games.
“Always a tough decision to leave a place you love,” Gregoire wrote on Twitter. “But I will never forget Grand Forks and the Sioux family. Thanks for a memorable three years.”
Gregoire is the second UND player to turn pro early this offseason, joining classmate Brett Hextall, who signed with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Sioux will lose seven seniors, two NHL signings and two transfers from last year’s team. They aren’t expected to lose anyone else early this offseason.