Greenway first African-American player on U.S. Olympic hockey roster
ST. PAUL — A couple of months ago, Wild prospect Jordan Greenway was trying his best not to think about the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I don’t think I’ve played as well as I’ve wanted to here in the first few games of the season,” Greenway said in early November. “I still have a couple of months to show them what I can do. I do think I could play in the Olympics, for sure.”
Now the 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward is set to break down a century-old barrier as the first African-American player ever to make a U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team roster. He was named to the Team USA roster on Monday afternoon, Jan. 1, and will compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month.
“I’m really really happy for him,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s earned it. He had a great summer camp here as well. … He’s somebody that I think once he’s done with school he’ll be ready to play. As an organization, we couldn’t be happier that they picked him for the Olympic team.”
Greenway’s most-notable international experience came last year when he helped Team USA capture gold at the World Junior Championships.
The Wild’s second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a highly coveted prospect within the organization, Greenway could have signed with the Wild this offseason.
Instead, the 20-year-old chose to return to Boston University, with the potential of playing for Team USA undoubtedly playing a role in that decision. He is the Terriers’ fourth-leading scorer this season with 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 19 games.
After riding the pine for eight consecutive games last month, Gustav Olofsson was slated to play in his second consecutive game Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
It came at the expense of Mike Reilly, who was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game, as the Wild continue to tinker with the bottom pairing on the blue line.
“We both know that we’re trying to experiment a little bit and at least play one of us for a longer period of time and see how it goes,” Olofsson said. “I understood the process. and now that I’m in, it feels good that it’s my turn.”
That has been the story of the season for the youngsters on the blue line, as neither Olofsson or Reilly has been able to secure a permanent spot in the lineup.
“It’s a really tough deal,” Boudreau said. “They’d play more except neither one of them feels comfortable on the right side, quite frankly, so they have to play the left side. It’s tough to get them both in all the time, so we just try to monitor it, and hopefully they get enough to stay sharp.”
Rookie of the month
Burnsville, Minn., native Brock Boeser keeps giving the Wild reminders on what they missed when they passed on him in the first round of the 2015 draft. He went No. 23 overall to the Vancouver Canucks, three picks after the Wild took Joel Eriksson Ek.
Boeser recently locked up his second straight NHL Rookie of the Month honor after scoring 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) in 13 December games.
Boeser is tied for fourth in the NHL with 21 goals and leads all rookies in goals (21) and points (38).
Eriksson Ek, meanwhile, has one goal and four assists in 32 games and hasn’t put one in the net since the Oct. 5 season opener against the Detroit Red Wings.
Zack Mitchell cleared waivers and has been re-assigned to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.