Colin Greening is making his NHL mark

Brandon Anstey
Published on March 21, 2016

Colin Greening probably wasn’t wanted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. When the Leafs dealt Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators in early February, it was seen as a coup for cagey Toronto general manager Lou Lamoriello, who moved not a team captain, but a hefty contract and a living, breathing reminder of a past which the new Maple Leafs’ regime is desperately trying to forget.

But if Ottawa GM Bryan Murray was to take on Phaneuf’s contract, Lamoriello would have to, in part, return the favour.
Which is how Greening ended up in Toronto. With the St. John’s native pocketing $2.75 million playing in Binghamton of the American league this season — and standing to make another $3.2 million next year — Murray very likely insisted the Leafs take some of his salary if he was getting Phaneuf.
Fast forward a couple or four weeks and Greening is sitting in one end of Toronto’s locker room inside Montreal’s Bell Centre, another new face looking to make an impression on Mike Babcock in what’s left of another lost Toronto hockey season.
But unlike Josh Leivo, Brendan Leipsic or Zach Hyman — programs anyone? — Greening brings with him an NHL resume of 250-plus appearances, and now, 14 games in with his new team, he has proven to be a nice find for Lamoriello.
Greening has two goals and four assists as a Leaf, is only a minus-one on a lousy team and his nine PIMS includes a good scrap with Phaneuf, ironically enough.
Not that this will ever be mistaken for the Doug Gilmour trade with the Calgary Flames back in ‘92, but consider this: Greening’s half-dozen points are just seven fewer than his total in 41 games with Binghamton this season, and two shy of his combined total with Ottawa and Bingo in 2014-15.
While many observers had Greening all but written off as a disastrous Ottawa contract and pegged as another European-bound ex-NHLer. Greening kept the faith even as he toiled in the minors on a team that’s among the AHL’s bottom-feeders.
“I think I had come to terms with the fact I’d spend the rest of the year in Binghamton,” said Greening, a product of the Avalon minor hockey association in the city. “I looked at the schedule, looked at the number of games we had left and said to myself, ‘Let’s have a good close to the year and see what happens in the summer.’
“All of a sudden, the trade happens, I’m on a flight to Edmonton and I’m back... a chance to make the most of an opportunity. It’s crazy how things can change in the blink of an eye.”
The Telegram