Greer is exactly what Bruins need from their fourth line this season


It won't take A.J. Greer long to become a Boston Bruins fan favorite if he earns a spot on the NHL roster for Opening Night. And at this rate, it would be pretty surprising if the 25-year-old forward failed to make the team.

Greer, who signed a two-year deal with Boston in free agency, scored two goals (including the game-winner) in Tuesday night's 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Last Saturday in the preseason opener versus the Philadelphia Flyers, he dropped the gloves with Hayden Hodgson for his first fight as a Bruins player. 

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Greer's style of play is what Bruins fans love. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery clearly likes what he's seeing, too.

"What I like is we see a young man who is looking to make the starting lineup from Game 1," Montgomery told reporters after his team's preseason win. "He's doing everything he can to impress -- he's fighting, he's hitting, he's shooting, he gets energy in the building, and he gets energy on our bench, so he's doing a lot of good things."

The Bruins have lacked speed and skill on their fourth line over the last several seasons. The 2021-22 campaign was a prime example of the bottom-six failing to score goals on a consistent basis. Nick Foligno scored two goals in 64 games. Tomas Nosek scored three times in 75 games, and none of those goals came after Jan. 2. Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar scored eight goals in 60 and 70 games, respectively. 

This lack of production caused the Bruins to finish 15th in goals scored last season, which ranked 13th of the 16 teams that reached the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Greer isn't going to vault the Bruins into the top 10 in scoring by himself, but the team would be wise to give players like him a more extended opportunity in a bottom-six role. Sure, you need toughness in your lineup, but today's game is built around speed and skill. The Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning are speed and skill teams.

Greer can provide the best of both worlds. He plays an up-tempo game, he can finish and he's not afraid to throw his body around. 

"Being from Montreal, you always watch the Bruins," Greer told reporters after Tuesday's win. "You look at those teams and they were so exciting, the Black and Gold. I grew up watching Milan Lucic, and there are a lot of Bruins fans in Montreal. I actually try to model my game after him, for sure -- energy, physical, can put the puck in the net and will stick up for your teammates at any time. That's who I want to be."

The first goal Tuesday night was exactly what the Bruins need from a fourth line.

Jack Studnicka -- another offensively skilled forward and potential fourth-line candidate -- aggressively forechecked, created a turnover, gathered the puck and found Greer around the net. Greer buried the scoring chance to tie the score at one in the second period.

"They were really good," Montgomery said of Greer and Studnicka. "The energy they provided tonight, the second and third effort on pucks, and getting to hard areas, a couple forecheck goals and obviously the game-winner. It's a skill goal by both of them."

Greer showed off even more skill on his overtime goal to send Bruins fans home happy.

The Bruins have plenty of options for their fourth line. The wise move would be choosing a line combo that will give the team much-needed scoring depth and therefore not put too much of the offensive burden on the top two lines. 

Greer and Studnicka, if they keep playing like they did Tuesday, deserve a look on the fourth line to begin the regular season. They have four more preseason games and about 10 days left of training camp to earn that role.

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