Just when you were starting to worry -- were you starting to worry? -- as other college draft picks and free agents signed with NHL teams, news filtered last night that Denver University graduate and Islanders 2006 4th-round pick (100th) Rhett Rakhshani agreed to terms with the Islanders.
He will report to AHL Bridgeport today on an amateur tryout (for this season's remainder, before the entry-level deal kicks in), making his pro debut at home Saturday in the Sound Tigers' very playoff-relevant game against Portland.
Not even a whole week ago, Rakhshani faced the disappointment of the top-seed DU team he captained falling to upstart RIT, which went on to beat UNH (with fellow Isles prospect Blake "The Greater" Kessel) to make the 2010 Frozen Four.
The Islanders were interested in bringing Rakhshani into the system before this past season -- "For the last two years," he told Chris Botta last spring, "They’ve told me they’re ready when I’m ready. They’ve been incredibly supportive." -- but Rhett had unfinished business in the NCAA. While a Frozen Four appearance wasn't in the cards, Rakhshani compiled 50 points (21 g, 29 a) in 41 games this year for DU and got the singular experience of being a team captain. Now in Bridgeport with a completed college degree, it's hard to argue that he made the wrong choice. Listed at 5'10", he's not big but his skating and hockey smarts are well-regarded.
Now the next part of this California native's journey begins.