It was the most hockey he’d ever jammed into a season: Eighty-one games in the NHL and another 16 in the American Hockey League, 11 of which were in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
But once 2018-19 finally wrapped for Wild winger Jordan Greenway in May, the 22-year-old didn’t spend the summer resting up from a rigorous 97-game slate.
After a brief break, he got right back to work to prepare for his sophomore season — a return to the Wild that Greenway expects to be boosted by the workload he managed a year ago.
“It was a good experience for me, for sure, both up here and down in Des Moines,” Greenway said. “Overall, I learned a lot from all 100 games or whatever it was. I think it’s definitely going to help me for this year and the future.”
While Greenway experienced a preview of the NHL in 2017-18 after leaving Boston University to turn pro, last season was his first full-length season with the Wild.
His rookie term started out slowly, but after a quick detour to the minors to rebuild his confidence, Greenway began to produce and ended up with 12 goals and 24 points. He had three goals and 11 points with Iowa.
Greenway described the season as a grind, both physically and mentally, but he felt he adjusted well to the jump in games. He played only 36 in his final college season.
As he did last summer, he trained the past few months with a lengthy playoff run in mind.
Just three weeks after he stopped playing, a lull that included a golf trip to California, Greenway started working out. He focused on maintaining his playing weight of 225 pounds rather than starting at 230 or 235 pounds and then trimming down in training camp like he has in the past, a tweak he hopes will help his quickness.
“I’m really excited,” Greenway said. “I can’t wait to get to the first regular-season game.”
Right winger Drew Stafford parlayed a professional tryout into a contract with the Devils last season, and he’ll have the chance to do the same with the Wild this year after the team invited him to camp.
“Good opportunity to come in and just play how I know I can play,” Stafford said. “Maybe get an opportunity to play with some pretty good players and show a little bit of an offensive side.”
Stafford logged more of a depth role with New Jersey, chipping in five goals and 13 points in 57 games in 2018-19, but he believes he can still be a sparkplug for goals — which Stafford had a knack for earlier in his career when he eclipsed 15 seven times.
What could help the 33-year-old’s bid at a job with the Wild is the comfort level he already has with his surroundings. Stafford, who has lived in Edina with his family for the past six years, has been participating in the team’s informal skates at TRIA Rink in St. Paul.
“While it’s a new organization and a fresh start,” Stafford said, “there’s a little bit of that familiarity here.”