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2015-16 IceCaps season review: Jeremy Grégoire

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The rookie forward became a versatile asset for the IceCaps in his first professional season.

St. John's IceCaps//Colin Peddle

The IceCaps had a young team in their first year as a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization, with several rookie forwards filling key roles. One of those first-year players was Jeremy Grégoire, who, after a solid career in the QMJHL, was tasked with making an impact in the AHL.

While he didn't impress with an offensive game like Nikita Scherbak or Charles Hudon, Grégoire provided a stable presence in the IceCaps' bottom six, even when injuries began piling up late in the season.

Despite a paltry six goals and five assists in 62 games played, he still played solid hockey all year long. Part of his scoring woes can be attributed to his deployment, often anchoring a spot in the IceCaps bottom six, or, more accurately, their fourth line.

However, having a skilled, hard forechecking player like Grégoire on the team's bottom trio was a welcome change after previous years where an enforcer would be employed in that spot. That style of play was a major factor in the IceCaps finishing the regular season with the top-rated penalty killing unit, able to showcase his defensive ability and hockey IQ.

He battled a few minor injuries over the course of the year, some of which were the result of his increasing number of fights in the AHL. That is probably the biggest knock against him this season. In his QMJHL days, he was a point-producing leader, and his sudden penchant for throwing fists should be a a concern.

Despite being shoehorned into a grinding role, he likely deserves a better shot with an offensively oriented line, possibly alongside Gabriel Dumont (if he's re-signed) and Jacob de la Rose.  With linemates consisting of players like John Scott, Brandon McNally, Angelo Miceli, and a rotating cast of players on tryout deals, his low offensive totals are understandable. It's hard to expect a lot of production when you share the ice with players whose main strength is hitting opponents, as opposed to hitting the net.

Looking at Grégoire's QMJHL stats it's clear he's got a solid offensive upside to go with his lauded defensive acumen. However, he (like many other players) hasn't been placed in the proper situation to develop his game. A player who scored at over a point-per-game pace in the CHL doesn't magically lose his ability to produce points, so it's likely we could see a big uptick from him in the coming season. It just requires a better use of his skillset by the coaching staff, and for Grégoire himself to turn down some fights, especially against much bigger opponents before he re-injures himself.