Photo Credit: USA Today Sports
The AHL announced today that Utica Comets’ point and goal leader Alex Grenier has been added to the All-Star Classic roster, where he’ll join fellow all-star Jordan Subban, who was announced with the original rosters.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) January 19, 2017
In addition to Grenier, the AHL added goaltender Anton Forsberg (Cleveland Monsters-CBJ) and forward Christian Fischer (Tuscon Roadrunners-ARI). The three will be replacing injured players who cannot participate in the event: Kasperi Kapanen (Toronto Marlies-TOR), Juuse Saros (Milwaukee Admirals), and Brendan Perlini (Tuscon Roadrunners-ARI).
This will be Grenier’s first trip to the All-Star game, and saves the Comets from a second straight year of sending only one player to the All-Star game, after only Hunter Shinkaruk went in 2016. It’s also the first time the Comets are sending two players that we’d consider to be Canucks “prospects” (despite Grenier being 25), as in 2015 they sent veterans Cal O’Reilly and Bobby Sanguinetti along with goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom.
This is good timing for Grenier, who has been on a hot streak of late – or at least he had been until he and his linemates went pointless in two games in St. John’s earlier this week. Before that, Grenier has put up nine points in seven games, including six goals. He’s tallied a team leading 13 goals and 31 points in 37 games this year.
Speaking of his linemates, they had a lot to do with his success over the past couple of weeks. Travis Green bumped him up/down/laterally to a line with Curtis Valk and Darren Archibald during during a January 6th game against the Albany Devils, and for two weeks that line was pure magic. Over a six game stretch, the trio recorded a combined nine goals and 23 points, all of which you can see here:
Grenier has been leading the Comets in point production since he passed Michael Chaput’s stationary total back in mid-November, and passed Curtis Valk for the goal lead just last week.
Grenier is also the Comets all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played, and second all-time in penalty minutes. Based on points and goals per game rate, he’d be on pace to break the Comets season record in goals and points as well if he were to play every game for the rest of the season.
Despite his dominance at the AHL level at this point, the 25-year old can’t get a sniff at the NHL level, where the ninth-place Canucks aren’t doing any experimenting with their lineup in their quest for a Wild Card spot. Based on how he’s been looking lately, I have no doubt whatsoever that Grenier could handle himself on the fourth line of an NHL team right now, but the ship may have already sailed in that regard. Grenier has received one call up this season, playing no NHL games as a result of it.
Based on the season he’s having at his age, there are a few of Grenier’s statistical matches that played at least 200 NHL games, but most of them were depth players in the same position as he is – struggling to crack an NHL lineup.
In any case, it will be nice to see Grenier get a chance to showcase himself alongside the best talent the American League has to offer. Maybe a good showing there will convince the Canucks to finally give him another look down the stretch.