The Ottawa Senators have tried twice now to land Portland Winterhawks centerman Cody Glass from the Vegas Golden Knights, but Knights general manager George McPhee has stood his ground both times.
It was reported last spring that McPhee and the Knights were close to landing Sens captain Erik Karlsson, now of the San Jose Sharks, via trade, but that McPhee balked at including Glass, his top prospect, in a potential deal. Flash forward to the February 2019 NHL Trade Deadline and the two teams were once again engaged in trade talks, this time regarding Mark Stone. Ultimately McPhee and Sens GM Pierre Dorion did get a deal done for Stone and one would assume that Glass’ name was bandied about, but somehow McPhee managed to hold on to his top prospect once again.
Now, Glass is poised to make his NHL debut for Vegas in 2019-20 and there’s reason to believe that he could be one of the league’s breakout stars. The 19-year-old has 15 goals and 69 points in 38 games for the Winterhawks this season. Those totals may seem like a far cry from the 37 goals and 102 points he put up in 64 games last season, but it’s important to remember that he suffered a catastrophic injury late January and was kept out of the lineup for three weeks.
The Cody Glass injury looks pretty scary. He needed to be helped off the ice, he did not return, and the Portland Winterhawks did not offer any further updates. pic.twitter.com/WiEPQ12QnB— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) January 27, 2019
Glass returned to the lineup in February and continued his torrid scoring pace, but has recently been sidelined with an unrelated injury. It’s expected that he’ll be ready to return to action in time for the Western Hockey League (WHL) Playoffs.
Regardless of how things go down the stretch and into the playoffs for Glass, he’ll be one of, if not the most hyped prospect heading into the 2019-20 NHL season. Four of the five players selected ahead of him in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft have already had made an impact in the NHL with Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick, Miro Heiskanen and Elias Pettersson all playing major roles for their teams. Defensemen Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, along with 2018 Draft selection Filip Zadina and 2019 top prospects Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kaakko will all be in the running for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, but Glass seems to have the inside track.
For one, Glass is the oldest and most experienced of all the players mentioned above. Glass will have four outstanding seasons of WHL hockey under his belt before he cracks the NHL and he’s faced the pressure cooker situation of playing for Team Canada on the international stage at the 2019 World Junior Championships. None of the players mentioned above have anything even close to the experience that Glass can boast.
Secondly, Glass has proven time and time again that he’s an adaptable player. He should have no problem adjusting to the speed and physicality of the NHL game. The 6-foot, 2 inch, 185 pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba has played some heavy hockey the past four seasons in the intensely physical WHL. Again, none of the players mentioned above have played anything close to the level of competition that Glass has over the past four seasons. He’s battles tested and NHL ready. The others? Well… it remains to be seen.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course. The Knights have an incredible amount of depth at the center ice position with Stone, William Karlsson and Paul Stastny all holding down spots for the foreseeable future. Again, Glass is a versatile player though and could potentially be shifted to right wing to slot in behind Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch. It’s also possible that Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant elects to play Glass on left wing. Suffice it to say that Glass’ NHL path isn’t clear yet, but the path will be forged given his talent and drive, and as long as he is fit the Hawks won’t change their best horse in midstream.
What is clear is that when his 2018-19 season ends Glass will take his place in Winterhawks history alongside other recent franchise legends like Seth Jones, Sven Baertschi, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen. In the meantime, Glass and the Winterhawks are favorites to win their fourth WHL championship. What better way to cap off a fantastic junior career for a player who is poised to be one of the NHL’s best rookies in 2019-20?