Mile High Hockey reported yesterday that AJ Greer and Gabriel Bourque have been recalled from the San Antonio Rampage following injuries to Tyson Jost (2-3 weeks) and JT Compher (indefinitely). Both recalled players are natural left-wingers, which helps us figure out where the Avs plan on sliding them into the lineup.
A quick primer: Greer has 2 points in 2 AHL games so far this season, after finishing 2016-17 with 38 in 63GP (15G, 23A). He also tallied 1 assist in 5 games with the Avs.
Bourque has 2 points in 5 AHL games this campaign, after 33 in 61 AHL games last year. He had zero NHL points when called up for 6 games in 2016-17
Yesterday’s practice lines got a little bit blended, and featured Landeskog alongside Duchene and Yakupov, while Andrighetto returned to MacKinnon and Rantanen. We know that coach Bednar likes to shake things up when the team is under-performing, so let’s look at the situation when the injuries took place:
Jost got injured while playing in the LW on the second line beside MacKinnon and Rantanen, so its possible that Greer gets a chance in this void at some (Kerfoot is likely going to be shifted into the now-empty center-ice role on the 3rd line). He certainly has top-six offensive upside based on his AHL and Junior production, and he gets himself to the net in a way that could compliment the linemates who excel at getting the puck there. This was also the coaching staff’s thought during last year’s call-up, where 40% of his ice time was spent with either Duchene or MacKinnon. If this is the case, he should be expected to score at a rate in the ballpark of the other rookies in that spot - Jost and Kerfoot have 0.4 and 0.6 points-per-game, respectively.
Should that 2nd line LW spot be kept by Landeskog after practice, Greer will find himself on the 3rd line, where the other injured youngster Compher spent most of his time. Greer produced at a comparable but slightly slower pace than Compher when in San Antonio last season, so by this logic we could expect a pace slightly below JT’s 0.5 points-per-game.
Side note: The fact that Greer’s expected output on the 3rd line is close to that on the 2nd line is a testament to the Avs’ improved scoring depth this year compared to last.
The other Rampage player riding the bus today is Gabriel Bourque, who’s energetic but offensively-dry record peg him as more of a 4th line/13th forward player. Based on this and yesterday’s practice lines, I would expect the Avs lines to be modified as follows:
Line 1: Andrighetto - MacKinnon - Rantanen (Andrighetto reunited with MacKinnon)
Line 2: Landy - Duchene - Yakupov (Landy promoted for the time being)
Line 3: Greer - Kerfoot - Wilson (Kerfoot to C, Greer in, Wilson bumped up)
Line 4: Bourque/Nieto - Soderberg - Comeau (Wilson’s spot filled)
Where would you slide Greer into the lineup? Does his pedigree make him worthy of a top-six spot right away, or should he start on the 3rd/4th line like Jost did before getting bumped up?