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Wild hopes 'The Mailman' keeps delivering

Rookie forward Jordan Greenway is becoming an every-night force for Minnesota

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /

CALGARY, Alberta -- Apparently, "The Mailman" delivers internationally.

Wild forward Jordan Greenway has been so good the past couple weeks, his teammates have christened the rookie with a new nickname because he's so good below the goal line.

"He's able to carry the mail down there," said Wild forward Eric Fehr. "The way he's handling the puck and making sure he's strong on it and guys just can't knock him off. When he's on his game like that, he can make a big difference for us."

Greenway has noticeably stood out the past couple of games as the 21-year-old rookie has begun to gain confidence in using his 6-foot-6 frame to shield opponents from pucks, especially in the offensive zone.

But he's also quick enough to be effective on the backcheck, using his big body and long stick to make life difficult for adversaries coming back up the ice. 

Learning how to use his size in the NHL has taken some time. Last season at Boston University, Greenway was almost always bigger and stronger than the players he was going against. 

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That's not always the case at this level.

"It's definitely still a work in progress," Greenway said. "Before, I was just the bigger guy, so it was really easy to just use my body, I didn't really have to work on it. But now, when you have guys that are as big as me or even bigger, you gotta find ways to be able to beat them too."

That confidence has started to show up much more regularly in recent games. 

"He was the best player on the ice for both teams," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said following the team's win Tuesday in Vancouver. "And if he can continue to play, that's two games in a row he's been a man amongst boys. 

"If he can continue to do that, he's gonna get a lot more points. He could have had three or four himself [on Tuesday]. That's the reason he was on the ice at the end of the game because of his body of work during the course of the game."

Video: TOR@MIN: Greenway slides puck through Andersen

In addition to gaining confidence with his body, Greenway has also made a point to seek input from veterans like Fehr and Matt Hendricks, who together have played in almost 1,200 NHL games and are fountains of knowledge for a young player to learn from.

"You can tell he's trying to learn every day," Fehr said. "He's new to the League, and there's a lot of things that you just don't know when you come in. And he's doing a great job of every day of trying to learn some stuff. He's slowly figuring it out."

Greenway scored once on Saturday against Toronto and had a goal and an assist against Ottawa on Nov. 21, but both Boudreau and Fehr believe big things could be on the horizon for the big left winger, both this season and in the future.

"He can be real good. I think he's got the capability of being a 25-goal guy in this league. But with all young kids, it's the same. It's consistency. You can be great one night, and it takes you four games to be great again," Boudreau said. "Coaches and parents everywhere go, 'What's going on? How come he can't do this all the time?' And I think as you mature in the league, you get more sound doing that. That's what I think is with him. 

"When he plays good ... you really notice how good he can be."

As Greenway continues to put together quality efforts, he said he understands that consistency is the next part of his growth as a professional

"Myself, I can string together good games every three games, or I can have a really good game, but I need to find a way to bring it every single night," Greenway said. "My confidence has started to go up. My big focus is consistency and being able to have an impact on the game, somehow, every night. Whether that's on the scoresheet or not, that's going to be my focus going forward."


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