NY Islanders prospects: 3 NCAA players having great seasons

Which United States-based Isles prospects can we get excited about?

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-USA-NOR / ADAM IHSE/TT/GettyImages
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2. Alex Jefferies

The only current Islander from the New England region is Wahlstrom from Maine. Selected in the 4th round of the 2020 draft from Lunenburg, Massachusetts, left-winger Alex Jefferies is on the fast track to Bridgeport. At 22 years old, Jefferies is a great puck handler who uses crossovers to generate power and spread the neutral zone. Scouts have credited the left-winger for his ability to complete difficult passes through layers of defensemen. Similar to Josh Bailey, Jefferies has great vision on the ice and has become almost a second centerman for his ability to create offensive opportunities and record assists.

Jefferies has improved in all 4 seasons at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. In 16 games this season, Jefferies has scored 12 goals and 7 assists. His number of goals is already on pace to surpass the 14 he scored last season. Between 2022 and 2023, Jefferies doubled his assists total from 13 to 27. This represents his improved ability to set up linemates and create ample opportunities. Now a senior playing his final season in the Hockey East Association, Jefferies figures to appear at training camp for the Islanders in 2024 if they can get him signed to an entry-level contract.

3. Cameron Berg

The northern Midwest has become the Harvard of American hockey players. Selected in the 4th round of the 2021 draft from West Bear Lake, Minnesota, centerman Cameron Berg has put himself on Lamoriello's radar. Just turning 22 years old, Berg is known for his defensive attributes. He is described as an energetic forward who presents a high-pressure forecheck and is proactive in defensive-zone break-ups. Berg has a knack for forcing turnovers, making him an ideal penalty-killer. Similar to Barzal, Berg rushes up the outside part of the ice before pivoting to the middle where he can accelerate and force an easy offensive zone entry.

Berg started his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he recorded 18 goals and 29 assists through his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2023-24, Berg has transferred to the University of North Dakota where he has tapped into his offensive potential. Through 26 games, Berg has 14 goals and 12 assists. Still just a junior in college, he figures to finish all 4 years before entering the AHL level. However, it would be a pleasant surprise if Berg signs his entry-level contract before training camp next season.