Cody Glass was the last man standing of the Vegas Golden Knights’ three first-round picks from the team’s first-ever draft class in 2017.
Once deemed the most untouchable prospect in the Vegas organization, Glass is now with his second NHL team in three years with the chance to prove to his naysayers — and there are a lot of them — that he still has the ceiling of an elite NHL center.
Vegas’ first-ever draft selection, Glass was drafted No. 6 overall in 2017 after a meteoric rise during his 69-game WHL season with the Portland Winterhawks. But the 6-foot-3 center, for whatever reason, just couldn’t translate his WHL success to the NHL.
Glass missed 11 months with a knee injury, and when he was healthy, scored just nine goals and 22 points in 66 regular-season games. It became clear that the Golden Knights’ front office lost confidence he would ever be the elite, No. 1 center they drafted him to be. And so they shipped him to Nashville for 2017 No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick, whom the Preds acquired in a previous trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Ryan Ellis.
The fact that Predators General Manager David Poile swapped Patrick, who tallied 30 goals and 70 points in 197 NHL games, for Glass, who’s far less proven at the NHL level, shows his willingness to gamble more on potential than results.
“I really feel he has the potential to be a real good center-iceman in the National Hockey League and play on the top two lines,” Poile said. “He’s still developing. He came off that knee injury a year ago, and I think we’re going to reap the rewards of a totally healthy Cody Glass.
“He was the sixth pick in the draft a few years ago, so he’s a highly coveted player. He plays a hard game… I do think offensively, he’s going to be a player to contribute in an area that we’re going to need.”
Glass could be insurance if the Preds lose one of Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene to Seattle in the expansion draft, or if Nashville doesn’t have the cap space to re-sign Mikael Granlund.
He could also be one of Nashville’s top-six forwards three to five years down the road, and along with Philip Tomasino and Rem Pitlick, he gives the Predators a skilled core of young centermen.
It’s hard to make the case that the Preds got better on defense after sending Ellis to Philadelphia for Patrick and defenseman Philippe Myers. While the 24-year-old Myers is younger and has a six-inch height advantage over Ellis, he’s nowhere near the caliber of blueliner Nashville just lost.
Swapping Ellis for Myers, though, somewhat fortifies the Predators’ new identity of wanting to be a gritty, difficult-to-play-against team.
“He adds that element to our defense that we haven’t had in a while,” Poile said. “He’s 6-foot-5, he’s a big boy, only 24 years of age, he’s a good skater for his size and his mobility, and I think he’s going to fit really well into our top six (defensemen).”
Myers has never played in more than 50 games in his three NHL seasons, never scoring more than four goals or 16 points either. Ellis topped those numbers in every year he was a full-time player (2013-21). Replacing Ellis’ production will be a tall order as the 30-year-old was a consistent eight to 10 goal, 30-point producer in seven of the last 10 years.
Myers may make the Predators defense bigger and stronger, but does he really make it better?
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_