The NHL-less Olympics means plenty of potential for underdog stories and tales of redemption at the rink from some familiar faces of NHL games past. It also means we’ll be getting a small glimpse of the future, too.
It’s not often we get to see hockey players suit up on the Olympic stage before hitting NHL ice, but that’s the case for a handful of NHL prospects this month. Here are some notable recent draft picks to keep an eye on in South Korea, and why their NHL fanbases should be excited about their impending arrival in the pros.
Jordan Greenway, LW, Team USA
NHL team: Minnesota Wild
Drafted: Second round, No. 50 overall (2015)
Current team: Boston University
Age: 20 (he’ll turn 21 during the Olympics)
Hometown: Canton, N.Y.
Weight: 227 lbs
Minnesota Wild fans should be excited about the arrival of Jordan Greenway. The big power forward is about as NHL-ready as a prospect can get, but opted to stay at BU for one more year to further hone his skills and ensure a seamless transition into the NHL — which could happen as early as this spring, depending on where the Wild stand in the playoff race once his NCAA season is over.
He has nine goals and 16 assists through 28 games with Boston University so far this year, and has shown significant progress over the course of his college hockey career.
“He’s starting to learn what his strengths really are,” Wild director of player development Brad Bombardir told NHL.com back in August. “Taking pucks to the net. Forcing himself to the front of the net. Living in the blue paint as much as he can. Those are his strengths. He would do that maybe once in a while a couple years ago. Now he’s really starting to realize that that’s where his game lies, and he has to play that way night in and night out.”
When he hits the ice in Pyeongchang, Greenway will also skate into the history books as the first African American to represent USA Hockey at the Olympic Games.