#14: Ridly Greig (Last year: 19, Reader Rank: 13)
Considering the inauspicious start to his first season as a Senators prospect (missing the World Juniors after testing positive for COVID-19), Ridly Greig put together a solid performance and left both our staff and the readers with a favourable impression. We had a near consensus as the staff and readers flipped numbers 13 and 14 in their respective rankings this year.
Looking back at last year when Greig ranked 19th here at S7S, he rode in with the hype of a first-round selection (and a less controversial selection than your average first- or second-rounder in Ottawa) with a lot of outstanding strengths on his resume. Young relative to his peers (an August birthday), Greig’s numbers and highlights got a natural glow-up especially because Greig also has a reputation for doing the little things right that coaches appreciate - such as playing responsibly at both ends of the ice and with lots of tenacity while exhibiting an infectious work ethic. Bear in mind, we don’t often associate those attributes with underage prospects.
On the negative side of the ledger, Greig did spend a lot of time in the penalty box and needed to clean up his skating per the amateur scouts. Coming from the Brandon Wheat Kings’ system with a high hockey IQ and questionable skating in his scouting report, Greig shared the honours of the annual the-next-Mark-Stone?-award with Egor Sokolov (bonus points as a natural right-winger for Egor).
With the pandemic delaying the WHL season, Greig bookended his season with stints in the AHL (again, a feat for his age). It felt as though every time we heard from Belleville head coach Troy Mann, the skipper had more and more praise regarding Greig’s performance. Considering how much this organization emphasizes structure and style across its internal tiers, you can tell that the staff know they’ve found a natural fit in Greig. He demonstrates many of the attributes we associate with the Brady Tkachuk-era Senators. It also appears that the organization feels Greig has nothing left to prove in the WHL.
If you want to take one silver lining from Greig spending last season primarily in Brandon instead of Belleville (actually Ottawa), the Senators did not burn the first year of Greig’s entry level contract. During that seven-game stint (split into halves) in the AHL, Greig displayed improved discipline as he managed to take just one minor penalty while adding a goal and two assists for good measure.
First pro goal for Ridly Greig!! pic.twitter.com/iTMaPBukKL— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) May 12, 2021
And while we only got a seven-game sample of Greig in the AHL, we witnessed the wrecking ball in full effect over 21 games in the WHL during its compressed 2021 season. Greig’s 10 goals and 22 assists over those 21 games gave him a 1.52 points per game pace that ranks 20th among U19 skaters in the WHL over the past decade. And, keep in mind, Greig did this while recovering from COVID-19. All told, Greig finished top-ten in WHL scoring in 2021, playing in all phases, winning faceoffs, leading his team in shots, and, yes, getting under the skin of his opponents.
So with only the WHL as a junior/minor option for Greig this year, and having already made such a strong case for himself, Sens fans will have to wonder: does he make the team out of camp? Could we see a 19-year-old former first-round pick in Ottawa in consecutive seasons? Like Alex Formenton and Shane Pinto before him, Greig fits the Sens’ model of forwards ready to play in a defensive role and on the penalty kill as a rookie. The fates of Logan Brown and Chris Tierney will likely dictate whether or not Greig has a place down the middle in Ottawa this season, so include that among the storylines to watch at training camp this year. Now if only we could do something about the spelling of his names.