Jet greaves website cut

This story, in some ways, is going to be boring.

That’s because what makes Jet Greaves so good is also kind of boring.

The Cleveland Monsters goalie simply shows up every day, works diligently and then stops pucks in playoff games. It’s a consistent drumbeat – put in the hard work, have a good game, then do it all again the next day.

The process never changes, and so far the results don’t either for a goalie who is turning heads for the Blue Jackets’ minor league affiliate.

Greaves himself is interesting – he enjoys chess, plays a number of other sports, is a well-liked teammate, and he's named after Jet Li, for crying out loud – but the secret to his success as a player is no secret at all. It's just good, old-fashioned, maybe even boring work ethic.

“I think for that’s really important as a goaltender, to try to be as consistent as I can and give the guys a chance to win night in and night out,” he said. “That all starts with the way you take care of yourself off the ice, away from the rink, before the skates, after the skates. Everything matters.

“So I think for me it’s just about paying attention to every detail I can and try to leave no stone unturned, just keep getting better and try to be the best I can be.”

The Cleveland Monsters beat the Syracuse Crunch 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Get an inside look of the victory in Behind the Battle, presented by PNC Bank.

So far, his best has made him the best goaltender in the American Hockey League playoffs. Going into tomorrow night’s Game 3 in which the Monsters can clinch their division final series vs. Syracuse, Cleveland has won five postseason games in a row with Greaves in the net for all of them. Through six playoff games this spring, Greaves’ goals-against average (1.39) and save percentage (.952) both lead the AHL, and he’s given up just nine goals in six postseason contests – including only two in the last three games.

It’s what Cleveland players have come to expect from Greaves, who was an AHL All-Star this year and has been described as the “backbone” of the team by forward Owen Sillinger.

“I think having Jet Greaves is a big part of that obviously, and maybe the key,” center Hunter McKown said when asked about the team’s standout defensive numbers. “We’re grateful for him back there. I think there’s a lot of times it could have been a tie game or (we could be) even down, so having him is just massive.

“It’s unbelievable. You’re not nervous when you see an odd-man rush coming like you normally are. He’s just so lights out. It’s pretty special having him back there.”

Greaves set multiple Cleveland records in 2023-24 as well, earning a single-season franchise-record 30 wins and becoming the Monsters’ all-time career wins leader in the process (61). Greaves finished the regular season among the AHL’s leaders in wins (tied for second), games played (46, third) and saves (1318, third) while posting a 2.93 GAA and .910 save percentage.

That impressive play has continued into the postseason, where Greaves’ positioning, lightning-quick reflexes and cool demeanor have been essential to Cleveland’s success. The Monsters play a tight defensive system, but having Greaves as the last line of defense is the ultimate trump card in the postseason, where tight, stressful, one-goal games are the norm.

“It’s everything,” head coach Trent Vogelhuber said. “Being able to count on him, the most important position in our game, it just establishes that foundation of confidence and belief. That’s all it is. It’s being able to count on the people out there with you to do their job, and i think our group right now trusts that guys are going to do their jobs, and there’s no one more important to have the trust in than your goalie. Jet certainly gives us that.”

The 23-year-old's rise through the organization has been nothing short of an underdog story. The son of a rec league goaltender who grew up in Cambridge, Ontario, west of Toronto, Greaves was talented enough growing up to spend two years with Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League, posting a 3.71 GAA and .899 save percentage.

He would have spent a third year with the Colts, but the pandemic wiped out the entire 2020-21 season for the OHL. Without prototypical NHL size at 6-foot-0 and coming off a year away from the game, Greaves found an opportunity with Columbus, which invited him to be the team’s goalie for its NHL Prospects Tournament squad in Traverse City, Mich.

A strong showing there and in training camp led to Greaves signing a contract with Cleveland, and he ended up playing 29 games for the Monsters as a pro rookie while posting a 2.84 GAA. He played 43 games last year with Cleveland and made his NHL debut with a start in Toronto at the end of the season, then was locked in from the second he showed up to training camp this summer.

CBJ head coach Pascal Vincent said Greaves might have been the most consistent goalie in the organization from camp on this season, in part because of all the work that he’s done away from the ice. Greaves also got his first consistent NHL opportunity this season, posting a 3.49 GAA and .908 save percentage in nine games.

“I thought it was good experience to get to play that many games in such a short time there,” Greaves said. “I think you learn to handle different situations that I haven’t seen before, or situations you have seen before, maybe you handle them better this time around. Every game was a learning opportunity, and there were some nice lessons I took that I’m trying to apply here to help this team win games.”

Cleveland has done just that this postseason and hopes to continue its run to the Calder Cup. With each step the Monsters take, Greaves’ performance continues to lead the way on a team building momentum and confidence as the playoffs go on.

“I haven’t seen him for the majority of the season, but ever since I got here, he was that staple in net,” said defenseman Jakub Zboril, a late-season acquisition of the team. “You know you can count on him. He’s not going to let in three or more goals. You just know. It gives you confidence, and it’s just really nice to play in front of him.”

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