As we start to dwindle down to the last few players on this list, most of you can start to guess who they will be. Next up to crack the top 5 and coming in at number 4, Jordan Greenway. The 21-year-old continues to climb the ladder of the Top 25 Under 25. He debuted at 17 and has moved up to 11, 7 and now landing at 4. Seems to be on the right path.
The 6’6” 230lb man-child is quickly becoming my favorite prospect of this organization. Wild Nation finally got their shot at seeing him play at the NHL level, last season. What a year it was for Greenway. He started out the season going back for another year at Boston University to continue his development and to be a dominating force. In February, Greenway got the honor to play for team USA at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Naturally, he headed back to Boston to finish the year, but once the Terroir’s were eliminated from the NCAA and the state of Minnesota rejoiced, he made his NHL debut for the Minnesota Wild. He even got to see what the NHL playoffs are about, it was a short stint, but a stint none the less. A solid winter for the young man.
Since Greenway has landed on this list 4 times now, a lot has been talked about him already. We all know about his size, it’s hard not to. The big questions are about his development and if he can be a top 6 forward. I believe he will be and for the sake of the Wild, he MUST be. Does that happen this season? Probably not. There is a log jam of forwards on this team that makes it difficult to get the ice time, but he’s having himself a good camp so far and that will make it hard for the coaches to send him down.
What does this team need? Everyone say it with me, SIZE! What does Greenway offer? SIZE! Now, I know that we have a few players with that attribute but have stalled out a bit, Charlie Coyle, I’m looking at you. Greenway has all the same size and skills as Coyle but needs to show everyone a different attribute that Coyle doesn’t, toughness. Maybe I should use the word that us Wild fans throw around like Byfuglien does Wild players, grit. If he does that, ChaHlie is expendable or Nino, which ever can’t perform this year. Best case scenario, Nino and Coyle live up to expectations, Greenway develops into a top 6 forward and the Wild are left with options, positive ones. I’m not going to hang my hat on that but a boy can dream.
Like I mentioned before, Greenway got his taste of the NHL playoffs last season and to me, he looked like he held his own. It’s hard to judge his play individually because the team was so atrocious, but he had his moments. Obviously, the highlight would be scoring his first career NHL goal, but I think he showed us something more. As the series went on, Greenway showed a little physicality and there were moments where he possessed the puck in the corner with ease and against those big D-men from Winnipeg, that’s a tall order. He showed me some spunk and I like that. I’m sure there were some glaring holes in his game, but I don’t have time to watch tape on him and nor would I want to relive those 5 games of pure embarrassment. Maybe not as embarrassing as the Vikings loss to the Buffalo Bills, yikes.
The way I see it, Greenway makes this team and will play on the 3rd line with Eriksson Ek and Coyle, continuing this line from preseason into the regular season. I believe Kunin will be the only player that would beat Greenway out for that spot, but I just don’t see it happening. When the glaring weakness of this team is size and ability to drive the net, you don’t take biggest player off the ice. I’m not a Kunin hater, so calm down. Kunin is a solid player and will be a big asset going forward for this organization but right now, Greenway gets the nod in my book.
It will be fun to watch the progression this season for Jordan. I hope he takes the next step and forces the Wild coaches to put him into the top lines. He’s got every physical attribute a hockey player can ask for, can he mentally put it together? That is the million dollar question we Wild fans will find out the answer to this season. Unless we trade this Man Bear Pig, look for him to continue to show up on this list for a couple more years and perhaps take the #1 spot. I’d like that.