Colorado Avalanche: All About Left Wing A.J. Greer


Colorado Avalanche left wing AJ Greer is a shining spot in the team’s shallow depth pool. He adds grit, skill and integrity.

The Colorado Avalanche may not have one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL, but one of the more intriguing options comes in the form of left wing A.J. Greer. Colorado picked Greer 39th overall — a pick that was part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade — in 2015.

Greer is in the second year of his three-year entry-level contract, which carries an annual average value of $825,000 but $70,000 at the AHL level.  He’s had an interesting path getting to professional hockey.

AJ Greer Biography

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SUNRISE, FL – JUNE 27: Anthony-John (AJ) Greer poses for a portrait after being selected 39th overall by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB /

Anthony-John Greer is from Joliette, Quebec, a town on the L’Assomption River just northeast of Montreal. Born on December 14, 1996, the 20-year-old left wing played midget hockey for Collège Esther-Blondin Phénix. The Phénix won the silver medal in the 2012 Telus Cup.

After that success, Greer left Quebec for the United States to play in the juniors. He attended Kimball Union Academy , a private boarding school in New Hampshire. He played two years of high school hockey with Kimball and even captained the team his senior year.

Greer played for eight games for the Boston Jr. Bruins Selects U18 team and two games for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. At that time, he also committed to playing at Boston University.

AJ Greer played two seasons of NCAA hockey. After a good debut for the Boston Terriors that saw him record three goals and four assists as a rookie, Greer was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Greer expected his ice time and responsibilities to increase the following year at BU. However, he started to struggle, and he got demoted to the checking line. Seeing this as a hindrance to his development, Greer opted to return to his native Quebec.

At the time, Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said of the move:

"“He decided he wanted to move,[Rouyn-Noranda] got a great team and have a good chance to win the Memorial Cup. He just feels for his development, that’s the change he wanted to make. We’re going to support him.”"

Greer finished the 2015-16 season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. He contributed 16 goals in the final 33 games of their season and helped them reach the playoffs. He entered the playoffs on the top scoring line and as the alternate captain.

The Huskies advanced through the playoffs to the Memorial Cup, but they ultimately lost in the Finals. At that time, Greer signed his entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He began the 2016-17 season as a professional.

AJ Greer started out his professional career on a pretty good note. Though he only played five games for the Colorado Avalanche (he did earn an assist), he did well with the Rampage. He recorded 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists), which was good enough to get selected to the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic.

AJ Greer and Good Works

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Throughout his life, AJ Greer has been about more than hockey. He’s spent a lot of time bringing goodwill to children’s hospitals. While in San Antonio, he made raising awareness of childhood cancer a top priority. He visited local hospitals weekly and even provided game tickets and locker room tours for cancer patients and their families.

Greer was an active participant in the San Antonio Rampage’s Face Off Against Kids Cancer initiative. He also served as an emcee of a local St. Baldrick’s Foundation event. Said even raised over $88,000 for children’s cancer research.

AJ Greer also participated in the Rampage’s Pink in the Rink event, which supports breast cancer awareness. He even donated more time to the San Antonio Spurs’ Silver & Black Give Back through the Team Up Challenge, which provides funding for youth-led service projects in the community.

All of this led to AJ Greer winning the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the AHL Man of the Year. The winner of the award best represents Dupre by getting actively involved in the community.

AJ Greer and the Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche just selected Greer because he’s big and gritty. Ok, that’s an oversimplification, but truthfully the Avs took a flyer on Greer because big, gritty leaders were their mold in 2015.

Greer, at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, presents as a power forward. He’s an energy player who can hit and grind. Yet he’s also a powerful skater with good agility. No one is going to outwork AJ as he has an outstanding work ethic. We’ve also seen that Greer can score.

As you look at his good works in the community of San Antionio, don’t go thinking AJ Greer is a big softy. He is off the ice, but on the ice he’s an instigator. He hasn’t attended a prospect development camp or rookie camp without pissing people off. These are potential teammates, but he knows “instigator” is part of his wheelhouse.

AJ Greer may have eschewed a checking line role with Boston University, but that’s probably going to be his role in the NHL. I’m not saying he’s going to be an enforcer. Rather, he’s going to be that pesky kind of player who can get under opponents’ skin yet still be able to pot in some goals.

Here’s how Greer approached coming into camp last summer:

"“I don’t think anyone works harder than I do. I’m not coming into camp thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll just go to the ‘A.’ I’m coming into camp thinking I’m going to make this team, the NHL team. “It’s not to be cocky, but it’s just the way I see it.”"

Well, Greer didn’t make the team out of camp, but he did get called up in November. He earned his first NHL point, an assist, in his second game, against the Dallas Stars. He assisted on a goal by Mikhail Grigorenko:

Greer will come into training camp with fire in his belly again, I’ve no doubt. He’ll probably irritate the hell out fellow prospects because that’s what he’s supposed to do.

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I’d say that, if Greer has worked on his skating and his shot, he has a good chance to make the Colorado Avalanche roster. That’s the team’s emphasis now. However, it never hurts to have a skill player who knows how to be a pest.