|A.J. Greer (black) is emerging as a highly-regarded power forward|
A.J. Greer, a 2015-committed forward originally from Repentigny, Quebec, was selected in the fifth round, 66th overall, by the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL Draft, Phase 2, on Tuesday afternoon.
The USHL Draft, just as background for those unfamiliar, is divided into two phases. Phase 1, formerly known as the Futures Draft, includes only players who will qualify as under 17s for the coming season (so 1997 birth year players this time around) and was conducted on Monday. Phase 2, more or less, covers all other players eligible for junior hockey and whose rights are not already owned by a USHL team.
In his sophomore year at Kimball Union Academy in 2012-2013, Greer managed to stand out on a loaded team that included ten Division I commitments by finishing sixth in scoring with 16 goals and 19 assists in 30 games and receiving an all-scholastic underclass second team nod from Over The Boards.
KUA's campaign did not end on a high, though. After a 27-2-0 regular season and the top ranking in prep hockey for most of it, the Wildcats were stunned 4-1 by Gunnery in the quarterfinals of the Stuart/Corkery Tournament, the New England prep championships.
In 2011-2012, Greer played for College Esther-Blondin, helping the Phenix to the Quebec midget AAA championship and a silver medal at the Telus Cup, Canada's midget national championships.
Part of Greer's rising stock however, at least in this corner, was his thinly-veiled Twitter blast of Conor Garland, a former Penn State commit who elected to jump ship for the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats back in December.
Kid's already one of my favorite players.
Penn State does have a bit of history with the Buccaneers, as soon-to-be-sophomore defenseman Connor Varley played for the team, as did incoming forward Zach Saar. Former Icer-turned-Ice Lion Mac Winchester played seven games for the Bucs in 2008-2009. Still, Des Moines' franchise is not in the best of shape - they finished seventh in the eight-team Western Conference this past season with a 25-35-4 record, which was actually improvement from their 2011-2012 mark of 20-33-7. That raises at least a question of whether Greer will report to Iowa at any point prior to attending Penn State two to three seasons from now.
Another notable pick took place just two slots before Greer, as Team Illinois' Nick Olczyk went 64th overall to the Sioux City Musketeers. Olczyk, as one might guess from the rather unique last name, is the younger brother of Penn State captain Tommy Olczyk and Eddie Olczyk, who just completed his senior season at Massachusetts. Both Tommy (205 games) and Eddie (71 games) played for Sioux City during their USHL careers.