Cambridge goalie Jet Greaves gets NHL test run
Jet Greaves was ready to launch.
After two years of sharing the crease, the Cambridge goalie was primed for a bigger workload with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts for the 2020-21 season.
Then the entire campaign was canceled because of the pandemic.
It was a major blow for the undrafted backstopper, who was hoping to catch the attention of some NHL scouts during his 19-year season at the net.
“It sure was different,” he said of that lost year. “I continued to make progress during my junior year and was hoping to take the next step at Barrie. As with anything, you make the best of the situation you have. That was my focus – how to move forward and get the most out of my career.”
Greaves, whose first name is Calvin but who goes by his middle name, reached out to a local contingent of hockey players in the same boat, and the group hit the gym and hit the ice together to stay sharp during the shutdown.
The Cambridge Minor Hockey Product and its agent were also working on their contacts.
While he was bypassed in the 2019 NHL draft, Greaves received an invite to development camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
And he made an impression. Enough to secure a two-year contract with the Cleveland Monsters, an American Hockey League offshoot of the Blue Jackets.
“It was an easy decision,” Greaves said. “We had great faith in the organization and what their plan was for me and it felt like it was a perfect fit.”
Midway through last year’s rookie season, Columbus upped the ante and signed him to a three-year entry-level deal.
“Turning pro is a big step,” he said. “You’re not exactly sure how it’s going to go or what to expect, but I’ve loved it and it’s worked out well so far.”
Greaves played 44 games with Cleveland and the Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate Kalamazoo last season and is 7-8-3-0 with the Monsters this season.
He’s also been called up to the NHL a couple of times, most recently last month on an emergency loan to the oft-injured Blue Jackets.
“Every time is an experience I cherish,” said Greaves, who served as a backup and is still awaiting to appear in his first regular-season game in the NHL. “I’m trying to make the best of it. Every time I’ve been called up and sent back down, I’m hungrier and hungrier to keep working and making it a career, playing at that level and staying there full-time.
So how does an undrafted goaltender who missed important development periods at youth level make it to the pro round?
“I think I had really good people around me,” Greaves said.
Topping the list are his parents, Brenda, a sales manager for a beverage company, and Gerry, a firefighter.
“My parents taught me really good values when I was young and all the work and sacrifice that it takes to get there,” Greaves said.
The Monsters, who share their arena — the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse — with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, currently sit sixth in the AHL’s North Division with a record of 16-19-3-2.
“We’ve got a very young team this year and with some of the injuries we’ve had with that team and in Columbus, our line-up has changed,” said the 21-year-old. “But our team is getting better now. The playoffs are the goal and hopefully a long run once we get there.”
And Greaves plans to direct the fold when it does.