Forward Jordan Greenway’s mission is straightforward.
“Help this team,” he said. “Do whatever it takes to win.”
But his late-season look with the Wild, which began Tuesday with his professional debut against the Predators, also stands to benefit Greenway by giving him a preview of the NHL — insight he can use next season when he works to be a regular.
“It’s definitely going to help out a lot, just gaining some experience,” the 21-year-old said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, so this will make it a little easier going into next season. It will definitely help me down the line.”
Although he wrapped his collegiate career sans a national championship at Boston University, Greenway knew it was time for a new challenge. And even before joining the Wild, he began to prep for the change in competition by surveying former teammates — including Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller, who played alongside Greenway last season in Boston.
“He just said to continue doing what I’ve done to get this far and continue to play the game I play and don’t try to change anything,” Greenway said. “It’s going to be a little quicker with some better players, so I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”
Much of the focus is on how much Greenway can boost the Wild as it continues to jockey for a playoff spot, especially since his rugged style seems to become more of an asset as the games get tighter. But the lessons he takes from this stint could end up setting him up for a successful start to the 2018-19 season.
“Next year will be next year, but this might give him that opportunity to see what he has to work on and see how he compares,” General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “When you meet with young players, you tell them all the time what to expect and things they need to work on, but it’s nothing like seeing with your own eyes and getting on the ice. … That’s the best teacher, getting that experience.
“We’ll see how next year is next year. … He’s put his time in at BU and that Olympic experience has been invaluable, but it’ll be up to Jordan to show that he can stick here.”