Chris Johnston of Sportsnet is reporting that Colin Greening has joined the Leafs in Edmonton and is practicing with the team.
The 29-year-old winger is expected to practice with the NHL team in Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon after being acquired from Ottawa in the nine-player Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
With Lupul, Matthias, Bozak, and van Riemsdyk all out, the Leafs are probably wise to bring in an additional forward and do so without disrupting the Marlies any further.
Since he’s new here, and we expected to just know him as a buried cap hit, it’s probably worthwhile to get know what the Leafs are hoping to see from him.
Greening (or Greenzo as I will be calling him) is a big body that can hopefully place himself near a net a have a puck show up for him to knock in. That certainly hasn’t been working for him over the past three seasons, but that’s what landed him his current contract, and with Babcock’s love of having players parked in front of goaltenders, that’s probably where Greening is heading.
He’s no more detrimental to defensive zone play than most of the Leafs forwards, but it’s reasonable to expect his usage will be sheltered and limited to same rate as Rich Clune and (sigh) Brad Boyes.
This season, Greening has only managed 7 goals and 13 points in the AHL, so the reality is that expectations should be almost non-existent for him. This really seems like a chance for Babcock to get a close look at him before sending him down.
Looking at Greening’s HERO Chart, there’s a bit more reason for some optimism
Generally he’s had solid results while going about against the less than stellar competition he’s been facing. His possession impact is very similar to what Peter Holland’s looked like before the start of the season and after sometime he’s settled very comfortably into a Leafs role.
Greening’s numbers (via War-On-Ice) show a pretty steep decline since the lookout shortened season. You can either look at it as his numbers becoming unsustainably poor, or that his ability to play in the NHL quickly eroded. While the latter is quite possibly true, the Leafs are in a situation where they can test the theory that Colin Greening may have some NHL hockey left in him, and that appears to be what they’re doing now instead of waiting for the 2016 training camp to open.