The Luke Kunin injury was devastating for the Minnesota Wild in many ways. Waiving Chris Stewart to add the young prospect to the roster was a tough decision that the team felt it had to make. Losing Kunin for the entire season was a disaster for a team that gave up a lot for his presence on the roster — a team that was in desperate need of some youth to balance out their veteran presence. Enter forward, Jordan Greenway, who has inked a three-year entry-level contract with Minnesota.
His signing allowed Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher to open the floodgates on how he felt about the young talent, “It’s rare to find a player with that combination of size, speed and skill, and he’s a guy we think is ready to play in the NHL.”
Fletcher couldn’t pass up on making comments about the forwards size, “He’s certainly a physical, strong man on the ice, but just a very good, kind person off the ice.” Fletcher’s words give a boost of confidence to Greenway himself, as well as Wild fans.
Correlating Roster Move
Adding Greenway to the Wild’s roster meant someone had to head down to their minor league affiliate, Iowa Wild. Zack Mitchell earned the honor as he has only played in two of the teams last six contests, including recent games against the Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins.
Mitchell has not been a very impactful player, especially in the last two games averaging 8:40 in ice time, while registering one hit, one shot, one faceoff win, two penalty minutes and a plus/minus of minus-one. This season, in 23 contests, he has three goals and two assists.
Who Is Jordan Greenway?
Greenway is a 21-year old forward taken by the Wild in the second round of the 2015 NHL entry draft. He has spent time playing wing and center so far in his career, but projects to be a winger going forward. Greenway stands at six-foot-six, 227 pounds, providing a scary presence to Minnesota’s crop of forwards.
Minnesota hockey fans may have been familiar with Greenway prior to the Wild drafting him as he has connections to the State of Hockey. Greenway attended a prep school in Faribault, Minnesota where he played for Shattuck-St. Mary’s for three seasons, with his first two in bantam teams before playing for the under-16 team in his final year.
Greenway moved on to Boston University for his college career beginning with the 2015-16 season. In total, he spent three seasons playing in Boston, registering 28 goals and 64 assists in 112 career games. In addition, Greenway posted an outstanding plus/minus of plus-34. During his 2017-18 season as a junior, Greenway was announced as an alternate captain. He also earned All-Hockey East Third All-Star Team honors in 2018.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Greenway became the first African-American hockey player in U.S. Olympic history. While the United States was quickly eliminated, Greenway did manage a goal in five contests while racking up ten penalty minutes.
Related: Potential Wild Playoff Opponents
Debut with Minnesota
All of his hard work paid off on Tuesday night when the Wild played the division leading, Nashville Predators. Greenway skated on the same line as forwards Matt Cullen and Charlie Coyle. He had his mom, Shannon, his brother, James, and some uncles and aunts in attendance for his debut NHL game.
During the contest, Greenway had no statistical impact on the game and his presence didn’t add up to much for the Wild who lost in a shootout. He finished with playing 14 shifts for 10:01 minutes on the ice. Although he had little impact on the game, playing in his first career NHL game is a huge deal and Greenway will be sure to benefit from it in the coming weeks.
Greenway remained in the lineup for Thursday’s matchup against the collapsing Dallas Stars. Again with Cullen and Coyle, he skated 17 shifts for 9:58 total time on ice. Every player takes different amounts of time to get fully adjusted to the pros so it isn’t cause for alarm yet. Head coach Bruce Boudreau still has five games to make any adjustments he deems necessary to strengthen Greenway’s play or at least give him a better chance to succeed.
Depth is something the team is lacking so as long as Greenway doesn’t hurt the Wild, he should remain in the lineup. Hopefully Greenway can be ready before the postseason, because things are about to get much for difficult for the rookie.
Audition for Greenway
With Minnesota signing Greenway to a three-year deal and immediately placing him on the roster, they have committed to the young prospect for the remainder of the season and any postseason play if the Wild can clinch a spot to continue their season. He can earn a permanent spot on the Wild’s roster with strong play in the remaining games. Most players dream of a perfect scenario such as this, help your team win and prove yourself for a permanent roster spot beginning in the 2018-19 season.
Jordan Adams is a writer currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts that was completed in December 2017. Adams has a strong passion for the Minnesota Wild and Vikings franchises, watching the former since their inception when he was only four years old.