The Avalanche scored on back-to-back picks in the second round with power forward A.J. Greer and nasty defenseman Nicolas Meloche. With Mikko Rantanen already in the fold, Colorado did well.
SUNRISE – It would have been pretty easy for left winger A.J. Greer to have returned to Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire this season and plunder the prep ranks. Instead, the Quebec-born power forward went to Boston University, where he was a teenaged freshman on a premier team.
Early on, Greer was a fourth-liner at best, sometimes a healthy scratch while teammate Jack Eichel destroyed the college ranks. But Greer persevered and by the time Boston was playing for the national title, he was a scoring winger on the second line. Now, he has been rewarded at the draft, as Colorado took him 39th overall.
“It was definitely a hard transition from prep school to college,” Greer said. “But I would never take back that decision, because of the maturity I’ve gained on and off the ice, the experiences I’ve been through with the guys at Boston University, the life moments I’ve gained.”
Greer has offensive upside, but it’s that physical nuclear option in his arsenal that caught coach David Quinn’s eye early on, before the points trickled through. No doubt the left winger will play a bigger role on the Terriers next season, especially with Eichel surely gone and Evan Rodrigues signing a pro deal with the Sabres as well.
“Throughout the year I gained more and more confidence from my teammates and my coaches,” he said. “That was special to me.”
Greer believes his combination of size (he’s 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds already) and skill are a good fit for Colorado and of course he is excited to join a franchise run by Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, legends in his home province.
The same could be said for Nicolas Meloche, a hard-hitting defenseman from Baie-Comeau in the Quebec League. Meloche was taken right after Greer by the Avs with pick No. 40. Though he believes he is three or fours years away from taking a shot at the NHL, Meloche also swooned over his future employers.
And given that Colorado already landed big Mikko Rantanen in the first round, it was a pretty impressive haul for the club over the weekend. Now the only question is how high the future Avs can climb in the Rockies.
updated to reflect that Meloche plays for Baie-Comeau, not Acadie-Bathurst