The Philadelphia Flyers’ 2015 draft class was one heck of a haul for Ron Hextall and company. Not only did the Flyers nab top-pair defenseman Ivan Provorov with the No. 7 overall pick (thanks largely to the New Jersey Devils, who decided to pick Pavel Zacha at No. 6, lol), but they also landed Travis Konecny with the No. 24 overall selection. Both players have turned out to be stars for the Flyers, and one can feasibly consider the duo as two of the best players currently on the roster.
But what if Hextall chose to go in a different direction at No. 24? What if instead of drafting Konecny, the Flyers drafted ... Jordan Greenway? That’s exactly what happened in SB Nation’s re-draft of the 2015 class, and, buddy, let’s just count our lucky stars that this is just a fun quarantine exercise and not reality.
The Philadelphia Flyers (@BroadStHockey) selected Jordan Greenway with the 24th pick in our 2015 redraft. We'll be back tomorrow to finish up the draft with the last picks!— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) May 13, 2020
To be fair, Greenway hasn’t been a total whiff for the Minnesota Wild. Since being drafted with the No. 50 overall pick in 2015, he’s managed 20 goals and 53 total points in 154 NHL appearances — not bad for a second-round pick. The 2019-20 season has been Greenway’s best campaign to date, as he’s amassed new career-high in assists (20) and points (28) in 67 games. By all accounts, the 23-year-old has turned out to be a perfectly adequate, serviceable, completely OK middle-six winger for the Wild. Overall, he’s decent at what he does, but certainly not anything to write home about.
But he could be.
After watching each of Minnesota’s games from the 2019-20 season, it’s clear that Greenway has yet to reach his full potential. There are some games where Greenway is impossible to miss, and other games where he’s totally invisible. One can argue that this is mostly a result of poor utilization since becoming a full-time member of the Wild. At 6’6 and 225 pounds, Greenway is a behemoth of man who takes up a ton of space — the perfect physical traits for a net-front bulldozer. At 5-on-5, Greenway seems to use his size to his advantage, routinely bullying opposing defensemen and obstructing the goalie’s line of sight. However, despite the obvious potential to take away a netminder’s eyes, Greenway has only earned 20:27 of time on the power play in 2019-20, resulting in just three power-play points on the season (all assists). When he does take the ice on the man advantage, though, he clearly has an impact.
Jordan Greenway with the screen in front. Doesn't look like he redirected Hunt's shot. pic.twitter.com/WtpSqHbXcr— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 28, 2019
After watching Wayne Simmonds dominate the crease for years on the power play, it’s not totally nonsensical to imagine Flyers management salivating at the idea of drafting someone with Greenway’s physical traits. In the end, though, the right decision was made with the No. 24 pick.
When it comes down to Greenway versus Konecny, there’s not much of an argument to be had. Konecny, while clearly not as big and strong as Greenway, is a near point-per-game player with the ability to take over a game all by himself. The London, Ontario native put together a breakout campaign in 2019-20 with 24 goals and 61 points in 66 games, and at just 23 years old, it’s fair to assume that he still hasn’t even reached his ceiling.
The cherry on top? Konecny’s under contract for five more years at a very modest average annual value of $5.5 million.
Hextall knocked the Konecny pick out of the park in 2015, and the Flyers will be benefiting from it for years. Meanwhile, the Wild are in hockey purgatory, and Greenway — at least for now — doesn’t appear to be much more than a passable middle-sixer.
Clearly, the decision goes to TK.