Since hearing his name called 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators on October 6 at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Ridly Greig has battled COVID-19, undergone quarantine, travelled to the Canadian World Junior Selection Camp, quarantined there due to a potential COVID exposure at camp, been sent home from camp as a precaution, travelled to Ottawa for the Senators’ training camp.
Oh wait, and upon his arrival in the nation’s capital, the 18-year-old was forced to undergo yet another period of mandator inter-provincial isolation. However, the silver lining through it all is that the Brandon Wheat Kings’ points-per-game leader from 2019-20 has officially been able to sign his first NHL contract.
This past week the Senators announced that the club had agreed to terms with Greig on a three-year, entry-level contract carrying a league-maximum $925K cap hit and an annual salary of $833K if skating with Ottawa. Should the Lethbridge, AB. product play in the minors for Belleville, his salary would be $80K.
“It feels good to have some relief in signing that contract,” Greig told Game On after signing. “It’s obviously pretty cool. You know, you’ve dreamt of this your whole life and have been working towards it your whole life. It’s nice to get it over with and have that first one done – it’s kind of a relief and feels pretty good. Everyone is really proud of me, so I just think about my parents and everything they’ve done for me, which is obviously a lot, so I want to thank them.
“It feels great to have the business side of things done for now,” he continued. “It was mostly my agent though. They had been going back-and-forth there quite a bit, but I did know that it probably was coming when it happened. I just feel really lucky to have that. I’m pretty fortunate to have that all taken care of for me.”
For Ottawa, Greig was the third of three first round selections (Tim Stuetzle, Jake Sanderson) this past October, and according to Senators GM Pierre Dorion, he was a player that the team had its eye on for a while.
“Ridly plays with an edge in all facets of the game,” Dorion said. “He’s a highly-competitive centre with strong character who is difficult to play against, driven and especially motivated. We’re looking forward to monitoring his development.”
Having spent the past two seasons suiting up in Brandon for the Wheaties, Greig fully expects to return for the 2020-21, unless a strong performance at Senators training camp this week alters his course.
“Brandon has been huge for me in my development,” he reflected. “Coach Dave (Lowry) and Don (MacGillivray) there and GM Darren (Ritchie), they have done a lot for me these past couple years. I’ve learned a lot the past year especially, kind of how the game works, especially in the D-zone from Dave. I definitely see myself going back there this year – well, who knows if that happens – but this is a pretty interesting year. I just want to play hockey. I don’t really care where it is at this point, but I’m pretty confident it will be there. I think we will have a pretty good team this year and see that develop throughout the year and have a good team come playoff time.”
A team that hasn’t seen much playoff action lately is the one that selected the 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward late in the first round. But despite the lack of recent postseason success, Greig – who put up a career-high 26 goals and 60 points in 56 games last season – is very excited for what he is calling “a new era” in Ottawa.
“The last few years they have been in the bottom, but they are pretty young and they’ve got lots of talented players coming in,” he said. “I think this year will be a pretty big step moving forward. I just can’t wait to get out on the ice with everybody here. I’m looking forward to it in the next couple of days here.”
Now having officially put pen to paper on his NHL contract, completed his quarantine and taken care of the necessary fitness and medical testing in Ottawa, training camp has begun for the well-rested Albertan.
“It feels good to have some relief in signing that contract,” Greig said. “It’s obviously pretty cool. You know, you’ve dreamt of this your whole life and have been working towards it your whole life. It’s nice to get it over with and have that first one done – it’s kind of a relief and feels pretty good. Everyone is really proud of me, so I just think about my parents and everything they’ve done for me, which is obviously a lot, so I want to thank them. It feels great to have the business side of things done for now.”
— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) January 2, 2021
Speaking of parents, Greig’s father, Mark, spent nine seasons in the NHL with four different teams. His 13-goal, 40-point career ultimately led to his current amateur scouting post with the Philadelphia Flyers. As a studious player the younger Greig certainly took advantage of having a father with both the experience of playing in the big-leagues as well as serving as his own personal scout.
“Obviously, while I was growing up my dad had a huge impact on me,” Greig reflected. “He couldn’t always be there, but he was when he could and now he pretty much tries to watch every game I play. I call him after every game and we chat about it. He will then give me some tips on what I can work on or what I can do better, as well as talk about the things I did do well. But obviously, having someone with all that experience… it’s just really good to talk with about the game.”
Although unable to help him with the financial negotiations of his new contract, Greig is represented by a well-respected agent who “made the process much easier on him”. And as for having some extra jingle in his pocket, Greig is taking an astute financial approach.
“No, I haven’t made any big purchases yet, nothing like that,” he chuckled. “I’m thinking about getting something, but we’ll see. I will probably just put it in the bank for now.”