US NTDP defenseman JD Greenway is the younger brother of Jordan Greenway, a fellow NTDP alum that was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of last year's Draft. But while the younger Greenway has the same massive size and smooth agility of his older brother, they're very different players. For starters, JD plays on defense rather than the wing like his brother. And while Jordan was a much more polished prospect heading into the Draft last summer, JD is very much still a raw project. So while he's not expected to go as high in the draft as his older brother, JD Greenway is still a prospect that will definitely be selected, and will be watched very closely because he may develop into a fantastic player.
Player: James (JD) Greenway
Team: US National Development Program U18
Height: 6'4" Weight: 205 lbs.
Stats: 64 games, 5 goals, 23 assists, 28 points
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 121st among North American skaters
What I Like
Greenway has really good size at 6'4" 205 lbs. and isn't afraid to use it. He can be a punishing physical force to opponents, especially along the boards. He's going to get under the skin of the opposition and make life difficult for them. He also has the ability to step up and make a big hit if he catches an opponent not looking in the neutral zone.
He has excellent mobility and agility for a player his size. He's got really light, quick feet for a 6'4" defender. That, combined with his big wing span allows him to cover a wide area of ice defensively in a short period of time.
Greenway isn't a finished product by any means, but with his raw skills, there's the potential that he could develop into a terrific player. I mean, he did this once:
What I Don't Like:
-Puck-handling Under Pressure
Greenway can be pretty skilled with the puck when he has time and space, but it's a different story when he's facing a lot of pressure. Greenway too often resorts to punting the puck up the ice or turning the puck over rather than making a play to keep possession.
-Defense A Work in Progress
He might have the potential to be a shutdown defender one day, but Greenway isn't quite there yet. He still has the tendency to get a bit lost when defending in his own zone. He's much better as a one-on-one defender against the rush when he can use his big reach to take away space.
-Not Much Offense
The highlight reel goal above excepted, Greenway didn't produce a ton of offense this past year. He picked up a lot of assists by virtue of being on the ice with some really good players a lot, but wasn't creating much of his own. That's not a huge issue for a player that likely projects as a defensive defenseman, but is always at least a small cause for concern when a player doesn't produce at lower levels.
Central Scouting has Greenway ranked 121st among NA skaters, and I have him 59th on my list of players I've seen, both of which equate to about a fourth round pick. Greenway finished the year strong with a good World U18s though, and I think at least one team will be intrigued enough by his potential to jump up and grab him in the third round. It's a bit of a risky pick, but one that could pay off with a solid NHLer down the line.
Greenway has solid potential has a second or third pairing defenseman at the NHL level. Finding a player that can be a physical presence on the blue line has grown increasingly tougher in recent years as the game has gotten faster, but Greenway is a rare player with the athleticism to handle the speed of the modern game while still being big and strong enough to punish the opposition.
He'll head to the University of Wisconsin next season, and he's still a bit of a project, so it will likely be a few years before he makes an impact at the pro level, but does have high upside if he continues to round out his game.