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Monday, June 12, 2006

A little on Anthony Grieco

While I was spending my weekend at a wedding in the major metro area that is Ortonville, Minn., news broke that UND received a commitment from goaltender Anthony Grieco of the OPJHL.

It's easy to see what this implies -- that Jordan Parise is going to sign a pro contract. It would be a curious move to bring in a 17-year-old goaltender to be a third-stringer. Grieco will provide the necessary depth at the goaltender position, assuming Parise signs.

Parise has maintained the same thing since the season ended -- that he plans on coming back, but that it's possible that things could change. Even if he knows he's going to sign, this is the smart thing for Parise to do. Just in case something falls through, he doesn't want to forfeit his NCAA eligibility. Look for him to sign sometime next month, though. If a team signs him before July 1, they will be fined as part of the new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, I'm told.

The situation may look like UND coaches scrambled in short order to find a goaltender to replace Parise should he leave. That's not really the case, though. The coaches had their eye on Grieco for a while. Grieco said UND coaches went to watch him play in the middle of the season (November or December), and they visited him a second time at a prospect tournament.

He made his visit to the UND campus in May and was offered a scholarship then. At that time, he told the coaches he would be coming to UND. Later, he said he signed a letter of intent, which has not been released by the university yet.

Grieco said he was considering the major junior route, but was getting interest from four NCAA schools -- UND, St. Cloud State, Union and UMass-Lowell. One of his teammates in Wellington will be going to Lowell this fall. Grieco said UND and Lowell wanted him this fall. St. Cloud State and Union wanted him for 2007. He said he wanted to play at college this season and it was a factor in his decision, as was UND's tradition and history of sending players to the pros.

Grieco describes himself as a patient goalie. "I play well in the butterfly and have sound movement," he said. "The season went really well. We made it into the second round of the playoffs and I was on the all-star team. I wasn't sure what to expect, it being my first year in the league."

He'll first come to Grand Forks in July for some training, and then he will return in August when school begins.

I'd have to double check this to make sure, but if Grieco plays in the first half of the season, I believe he will be the youngest goaltender to play for the Sioux since Aaron Schweitzer. Grieco doesn't turn 18 until November. At 6-foot-1, he will be the tallest goaltender to play at UND in some time, too.

I hope to post a chat with his coach at Wellington soon.

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