One of the most underrated things a franchise can do is load up on quality goaltenders throughout the organization. Having or lacking depth at the position can make or break your team in any given season, so it’s crucial to keep the system stocked. For the Blue Jacket organization, Jet Greaves has been a nice surprise in the rebuild.
An undrafted free agent, Jet Greaves was signed by the Blue Jackets to an entry-level contract last February, with hopes of doing exactly what we were just talking about – adding depth to the system. He started his pro career in the ECHL, but was thrust into the AHL due to injuries – eventually finding the bulk of the playing time with the Cleveland Monsters.
He played in 29 AHL games last season, holding a 12-12-3 record while posting a .905 save percentage and 2.84 goals against average. This year, he’s gone 13-11-4 in 31 games played, though his save percentage (.894) and goals against average (3.31) have both trended the wrong way.
But these trends aren’t all that concerning to me. As we’re all aware, this has been a turbulent season throughout the system and call-ups have decimated the Monsters all year. This is especially true on the back end – the Blue Jackets have used 13 different defensemen. Having that kind of inconsistency in the lineup – especially on defense – is certainly going to affect the goaltending and, in turn, the team’s overall record.
Though he’s a bit undersized compared to the typical NHL goaltender, I do think Jet has the potential to play at the next level, though it will likely be as a backup or in spot duty. He has terrific lateral movement and is a sound goaltender in his crease, capably taking away angles and making the saves he needs to make. He can also steal a big save here and there because of his athleticism, which is a quality the Jackets certainly seem to favor in their goaltenders.
It will be tough for him to have a path to the NHL with the Blue Jackets because he’s stuck behind Elvis Merzlikins and Daniil Tarasov, but this is exactly the kind of guy you want to have around in case an emergency call-up opportunity arises. He’s good enough to play every night in the AHL, and he’s the type of goaltender that teams will battle for.
Jet is signed through next season. With Merzlikins and Tarasov likely forming the NHL tandem, I think he’ll be the heavy workload starter in Cleveland. With some really good quality prospects making the jump to the AHL next year, and (hopefully) some health; the Monsters should be a good team, and this is exactly the kind of guy I would want backstopping them.