When the Ottawa Senators announced they had signed forward Colin Greening to a three extension worth an average of $2.65 million a season, it looked like a quality signing by Bryan Murray.
While the cap hit seemed a little inflated, the number made sense after the solid playoff Greening had put together. Greening scored three times in ten playoff games, including one of the most memorable goals of last year’s run- a double overtime winner against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nobody would ever mistake Greening for an offensive threat but his hard work, hustle and versatility made him worthy of the extension.
But through 18 games this season, Greening has fans questioning that extension a little bit.
With just three assists in 18 games and a -1 rating, Greening has bounced around the line up all year. Scoring line. Checking role. Occasional power play time. Nothing has worked for Greening. He has registered just 16 shots on goal through the first 18 games, which is the lowest of any forward and just six ahead of Cowen for lowest on the team. Greening is a guy that thrives on rebounds and garbage goals. Those opportunities just haven’t been there for him so far this year.
A missed open net off a great feed from Spezza during the Philadelphia game was just another example of nothing going right for Greening so far.
Despite his struggles, Greening has seen his ice time steadily increase over the last couple weeks. Since the last three games in October, where Greening saw his ice time dip to below 10 minutes a night in three straight games, MacLean has used Greening more and more. He played a season high 15:47 against the Panthers last Saturday and was up around there again on Tuesday against Philly.
Despite not really taking a regular shift on the power play or the penalty kill (13th in time on ice in both categories), it’s pretty clear MacLean is making a conscious effort to get the big forward going.
In a season where multiple players have had disappointing starts, it’s difficult to single anybody out. As a team, the Ottawa Senators have not met the expectations placed on them following back to back successful seasons. It’s no one players fault that the team has struggled the way it has. The defence hasn’t been good enough. Craig Anderson has struggled coming off one of the best seasons of his career and the forwards outside of the MacArthur-Turris-Ryan combination have been fairly disappointing. Greening is one of many players on this roster looking to shake off a slow start.
18 games is far too early to judge the value of a contract extension but Colin Greening needs to be better and he knows it. He has always been a streaky scorer so you have a feeling that once he breaks the goose egg, more goals will follow. The good news is, nobody will ever question Greening’s work ethic. He’s a guy who gives his all night in/night out and you know he’s working hard to break the early season drought.
We’ll see if he can get on the board for the first time this weekend.