Not too long ago, Thomas Greiss was a popular name around the league. He was considered a potential successor to Evgeni Nabokov in the San Jose Sharks‘ net. Yet, somewhere along the way, his name was lost.
The time and location at which his name disappeared to many associated with the San Jose Sharks likely falls right around the same time the team signed Antti Niemi to a long-term contract to make him their franchise goaltender. Greiss was sent to Sweden for a year before returning last season.
In limited action with the Sharks, he actually performed pretty admirably. He finished with a .915 save percentage and 2.30 goals-against average, winning nine of his 14 starts. However, despite the fact that he was a top prospect coming up with the Sharks, he’s still something of a wild card.
Which is why this shortened season could play to his advantage.
There’s a market for young goaltenders with potential that are stuck behind franchise goalies, which Niemi is apparently still considered. We saw it with Anders Lindback behind Pekka Rinne and also with Jonathan Bernier behind Jonathan Quick. Lindback has since been liberated, finding his way to a starting job via trade. Bernier should follow down that road soon, as well. Could we see a similar path for Greiss?
It’s certainly possible. He’s not the biggest guy between the pipes, standing 6’1″, but he’s very intelligent. His positioning is typically excellent and he knows how to read a play. He has the tools to be a very successful goaltender in this league. He just needs an opportunity to showcase them.
The shortened season is going to require most backup goaltenders to see more time than they normally may. Which means that teams could get a better look at Thomas Greiss. And if he performs well, he could very well be on his way to a starting gig, or at least a shot at one with a new club next year. There are more than a few clubs looking for a solid young goaltender, and there will be interest in him, especially if he performs well.
He’ll get a chance to show his stuff this season. The question will be whether or not he can take advantage of it.