The Colorado Avalanche have completed another bit of business, signing A.J. Greer to a one-year two-way contract worth $735K at the NHL level. Greer was a restricted free agent but will not be eligible for arbitration until after this contract is completed. The Avalanche have now signed all of their restricted free agents except for Mikko Rantanen.
Greer, 22, isn’t on quite the same level as Rantanen when it comes to restricted free agents, but he is still an interesting piece for the Avalanche. Selected 39th overall in 2015 with a pick acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in the Ryan O’Reilly deal, Greer actually ended up leaving Boston University partway through his draft+1 season to join the QMJHL. After finding huge success with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the second half of the 2015-16 season—the Huskies won the QMJHL title thanks in huge part to Greer’s 22 points in 20 playoff games—he jumped to the professional ranks in 2016-17 and fit in well at the AHL level. That led to some opportunity in the NHL, that unfortunately so far has not gone exceedingly well.
In 37 games with the Avalanche over the last three seasons Greer has totaled just six points, but has shown enough in the minor leagues to believe that he can be a contributor down the line. Still just 22 until December he has a chance to grow into a legitimate NHL power forward that can chip in a little bit of offense and provide a physical presence on the forecheck.
The question now is when will that opportunity present itself, given Colorado GM Joe Sakic’s work to add depth up front this summer. Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Andre Burakovsky are all now penciled into substantial roles on the team while others like Vladislav Kamenev, Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut should be battling for spots in the near future. Greer will need to clear waivers in order to be sent to the minor leagues which could give him a leg up, but he’ll need to show he belongs in order to stay in the NHL.