Journeyman Player May Have Found a Home With the Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins forward AJ Greer (number 10 in black) skates against the New York Rangers in a preseason game at the TD Garden on September 27, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

This will be a crucial start to the season for the Boston Bruins. They will be without three key players in Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk to begin the year. But with pre-season underway and players fighting for available roster spots, one name has started to turn heads during these exhibition games. A journeyman across the professional hockey world – Bruins forward AJ Greer.

AJ Greer Making His Case To Make The Roster

With the slew of injuries to begin the year, it provides an opportunity for guys to enter the lineup. The core group remains intact and is solidified, but spots are open for the taking. Bruins forward AJ Greer has made a case for himself. Entering pre-season play on home ice against the New York Rangers, he got everyone’s attention. Greer popped off and had a game for the ages. He gave everyone at TD Garden a reason to cheer and was why they won the game.

Greer Shining Brightly

Greer capped off the evening by scoring two goals, with one of them being the game-winner. The first came off a nice forechecking effort by Jack Studnicka and he went bar down for his first goal. Taking a cross-ice pass from centre Jack Studnicka, Greer buried it in the back of the net.

Greer was a tone-setter. He was unafraid to get physical as he led all teams with seven hits. Even more importantly, he was not scared to shoot the puck, as he had five shots on goal and 13:27 of ice time. Greer is making the most of his opportunities and is taking advantage of it while he can.

The Praise

Greer is not just turning the heads of the fan base, but also the head coach. While he crossed off the checklist that puts you in the good graces of the fan base, he earned it from his coach as well. After these last two games, head coach Jim Montgomery had high praise for the forward. “What I like is we see a young man that is looking to make the starting lineup, from game one,” Montgomery said of Greer following the win. “He’s doing everything he can to impress — he’s fighting, he’s hitting, he’s shooting. He gets energy in the building, gets energy on our bench. So he’s doing a lot of good things.”

With an open roster spot, he even earned himself a promotion. Greer now slides to the third line with centre Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith. For a team needing depth scoring and energy, that could be a good line going forward.

The Missing Identity

Once upon a time, the Merlot line existed. That line did everything from bringing energy to forechecking hard and not being afraid to stick up for your teammates. Fourth-line players can typically come and go, but an identity has been missing in the Bruins’ lineup for quite some time. This even goes back to the days of Milan Lucic. While management and the staff have been waiting patiently for the game of Trent Frederic to evolve, Greer may be the answer.

One thing Greer mentioned in his press conference was who he models his game after – none other than Milan Lucic. And he’s delivered. In the first game against the Flyers, he finished with three hits and 17 penalty minutes with a fighting major. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Somewhere, Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton are smiling.

Greer may have found himself a home in Boston. He has outplayed veteran fourth-liners Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, and Chris Wagner. If he maintains this level of play, it’ll be hard to turn him down from making the opening night roster.

Main Photo:
skates against the New York Rangers in a preseason game at the TD Garden on September 27, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)