A.J. Greer understands what the NHL level is all about with 23 career games on his resume. He's also had success in the American Hockey League and is one of the Colorado Eagles' leading scorers this season.
The forward is now looking to put it all together and be an impact player with the Colorado Avalanche.
"For me, it is just playing the same way I've been playing down there," Greer said to ColoradoAvalanche.com. "Playing with offensive pace, grit, use my big body, get to the net, but also produce and have fun with the opportunity that I have. That is the reason why I've had a lot of success down there. I've been enjoying every minute I've been on the ice."
Greer was recalled from the AHL on Monday afternoon with the Avs dealing with injuries to a couple of forwards, and will play in tonight's game against the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche's roster opening became apparent with Vladislav Kamenev possibly missing the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Alexander Kerfoot set to miss his first game of the campaign with an undisclosed ailment.
This is Greer's third call-up of the campaign, and tonight will mark his second NHL contest of the season after previously skating in the Nov. 2 game at the Vancouver Canucks. He will play on a line with Gabriel Bourque and Colin Wilson this evening.
Video: Greer on joining the Avs before playing the Oilers
Greer's two-way play has been a big reason why the Eagles are currently one of the best teams in the AHL's Western Conference, as the 21-year-old ranks second on the squad with 21 points after 20 contests. His nine goals on the year are second on the club and his 12 assists are tied for the team lead.
"The interesting note on him is I think he is playing the best hockey of his career down there… He's an impact player down there right now," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar. "He's playing with a lot of energy. He is physical. He is getting on pucks. He's going hard to the net.
"When we're thinking of call-ups, we would like to reward someone who is doing all the right things and is playing real well, and certainly for him that is the case in this situation."
Greer said following the team's optional morning skate that he is looking to have more fun with the NHL opportunity and focus on how he's had success at the minor-league level.
"Not be too worried about making mistakes and kind of just rolling with whatever I'm presented with," he said. "I think just be able to move the puck and play with really good linemates that I have. Have confidence in what I do best is the way I'll be able to have success up here."
Greer isn't the only player that will get an opportunity this evening due to the club's minor roster shakeup
With Wilson set to play with Bourque and Greer, Sven Andrighetto will move up to Wilson's former spot on a line with Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher, and, presumably, will see more playing time.
Video: Sven Andrighetto before the game vs. Edmonton
Andrighetto has two goals and three points in 14 contests this season and is averaging 11:51 of ice time.
"I've been playing solid in the D-side, but my job is to bring this team a little more offense. That is my goal obviously." Andrighetto said. "Working hard every single day, and at some point it will turn around and they'll start to go in. I'm getting chances, which is good, but I got to capitalize on them. It's about time now."
Andrighetto registered a career-high eight goals and had 22 points last year while being limited to just 50 games due to a lower-body injury.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Tonight's game is the start of a 28-day period that will see the Avalanche stay mostly at home through the first week of the New Year.
The Avs will play nine of their next 12 contests in Denver, with each of the three road outings being quick one-off trips.
"It's nice to be home for a little while. We've been on the road a lot, but it was also good for bonding time with the team. Everyone is happy to be home for a little bit," Andrighetto said. "We know how good we were last year at home, and we want to be even better this year and set the tone that this isn't an easy building to come in for other teams."
Colorado just wrapped up a 19-of-28 game stretch in other club's buildings. The Avalanche has played 11 contests at Pepsi Center this season, the fewest home outings in the NHL to date.
Video: Jared Bednar before the Avs host the Oilers
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will be between the pipes for the Avalanche this evening, making his 21st start of the campaign.
Varlamov has registered a 10-7-3 record, 2.63 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and one shutout this season.
Defenseman Mark Alt is expected to be the lone healthy scratch for Colorado with Kerfoot (undisclosed), Mark Barberio (upper body) and Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder) all out with injuries.