Vegas Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25: Cody Glass is fighting for a roster spot

Glass was the first player ever selected by the Golden Knights in the NHL Entry Draft; could he be on the verge of finally making the team?

Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.

Coming in at No. 3, the highest spot of any (spoiler alert) non-Golden Knights regular, is none other than Cody Glass. The kid has a ton of hype surrounding him, and for good reason. Over the next few weeks he will be trying to show the Golden Knights that he has what it takes to make it in the NHL.

No. 3: Cody Glass
Position: C
Age: 20 (April 1, 1999)
Size: 6-foot-2, 192 pounds
Nationality: Canadian

Having the pressure of being the first-ever draft pick for a club is a lot for a young man to handle. Luckily for Vegas, Glass seems wise beyond his years and exudes an unwavering confidence that will serve him well when he does reach the NHL. Just how soon he makes the jump is hard to project, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him win a roster spot out of camp this year. Don’t be misled by his birthday — he’s no April fool, and he could bring a lot to the table as a member of the Golden Knights.

I for one am looking at it with a glass-half-full mentality.

Ok, I’m done.

Glass isn’t the kind of guy who needs the easy play to succeed. He possesses silky-smooth hands and can create opportunities for himself and his linemates. In the video below, Glass’ disgustingly filthy hands are on full display as he makes an opposing defender look downright silly.

There’s no question about the high level of skill Glass has. Granted, that play came in the Western Hockey League, but many elite players have come from the WHL, including Mark Stone (Brandon Wheat Kings), Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds) and Cody Eakin (Swift Current Broncos). Fellow first-round pick Peyton Krebs also hails from the WHL as a member of the Winnipeg Ice.

After honing his skills in an elite junior league, Glass has the stuff to hack it in the NHL. It’s quite possible that the only thing in his way is how the 20-year-old phenom fits within the current roster.

The Fit

Glass’ main strength is his solid two-way play as a center. Even after dealing Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes and losing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to the Colorado Avalanche, the Golden Knights have three solid top-nine centers. William Karlsson, Paul Stastny and Eakin are all consummate pros who can play in all situations. There’s no question that Glass will become that type of player sooner rather than later, but it’s hard to tell if the Golden Knights want to roll the dice on it while they have such good center depth.

His easiest path to the team could be as the fourth-line center, but it’s hard to get excited about seeing Glass playing alongside a combination of William Carrier, Ryan Reaves and/or Tomas Nosek. A role as the third-line center is ideal for the young up-and-comer, but that is Eakin’s spot and he’s done nothing to lose it. Sending Eakin to another club wouldn’t make sense because he is now the number one center on the penalty kill without Bellemare around. Stastny and Karlsson also see time on the PK, but it’s unwise to keep overusing top-six forwards in that capacity.

Eakin could be shifted to the fourth line, but that’s a huge demotion for a player who has done so much for the team in its two-year history. It would be a tough sell for the guy, especially considering the heartbreaking way his 2018-19 season ended in San Jose.

Although Glass has said that the team has yet to discuss the prospect of him playing on the wing, it may be necessary in order to fit with all the other moving pieces. Glass’ creativity, play-making and athleticism afford him the versatility to be a great winger, but he is better suited down the middle.

Only time will tell how he will fit into the club’s plans, but if he ends up back in Chicago, it won’t be time completely wasted. He would go back to playing in all situations at the AHL level, building even more confidence and keeping himself ready for a call-up in the event of an injury. There are multiple forwards above the age of 30 on the Knights, and that seems to be an age when injury issues begin to creep in. Last season, both Max Pacioretty and Stastny missed significant time due to injury. A start in the AHL could be in the cards for Glass, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see the center at some point during the season.

His Future

Glass was the sixth overall pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Each of the five players taken ahead of him have already played in the NHL, with Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche doing so most recently.

2017 NHL Entry Draft: Top Selections

  • No. 1 – Nico Hischier, C (NJ)
  • No. 2 – Nolan Patrick, C (PHL)
  • No. 3 – Miro Heiskanen, D (DAL)
  • No. 4 – Cale Makar, D (COL)
  • No. 5 – Elias Pettersson, C (VAN)
  • No. 6 – Cody Glass, C (VGK)/

All of the picks made ahead of Glass already look to be the real deal, and he projects no differently. Glass has the hands, skating and hockey IQ to be a long-time threat in the NHL.

With a solid core and no need to rush his development, the Golden Knights have been very patient with their first-ever draft selection, and it looks to be paying off. Following Sunday’s preseason win, Pacioretty, who skated with Glass, had nothing but praise for the youngster.

”He’s the future. He’s a tremendous talent, offensively and defensively.

-Max Pacioretty

If he makes the team out of camp, Glass will inevitably help the Golden Knights win games. There will be some ups and downs, as all rookies experience, but he is ready to make the jump. Finding the right fit for him will help, but is not imperative for a player of his skill level. Regardless of his linemates, Glass will find a way to make an impact and help the club, either offensively or defensively. His maturity and two-way game are invaluable to any NHL club. The fact that the GM has a long history with and believes strongly in the WHL and its players doesn’t hurt Glass’ chances.

As the only remaining member of Vegas’ trio of 2017 first-round picks, Glass is clearly held in high regard by the organization. While Nick Suzuki (MTL) and Erik Brannstrom (OTT) were dealt to not-so-greener pastures, Glass remained. After two seasons of waiting in the wings, both he and the team must be itching for him to make the NHL club.

It’s now time for Glass to call the Fortress his new home.

Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25: