Rejoice! Training camp is now just a few weeks away and that means we will finally be treated to some Vegas Golden Knights hockey.
It also means that a slew of players will be given the chance to impress and potentially win or nail down a full-time roster spot with the Vegas Golden Knights for 2019-20. There are a couple of roster spots up for grabs and that should produce some fascinating storylines for all of us to follow.
For example, President of Hockey Operations George McPhee has already stated that one rookie will complete the blueline this year, with Nic Hague, Jake Bischoff, Zach Whitecloud, Dylan Coghlan and the still unsigned Jimmy Schuldt expected to battle for that one spot.
And then you have the added competition among the goaltenders now, with Garret Sparks set to battle Malcolm Subban for the backup goalie job following his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the offseason, although it is likely that Subban will start 2019-20 as the understudy to Marc-Andre Fleury.
However, arguably the biggest name to watch during training camp will be young stud Cody Glass, who is primed and ready to take the NHL by storm after absolutely dominating every single level he has played at so far. And, given the vast array of skills in his armoury, there is no reason to think that he won’t flourish in the majors.
The sixth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and the first-ever pick in franchise history, will be given a golden opportunity to prove why he should be on the Vegas Golden Knights’ opening night roster, and it will shape up to be one of the most intriguing storylines to keep an eye on throughout Training Camp.
After trading Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes and Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils in order to create cap space, in addition to losing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Carpenter in free agency, the Golden Knights’ bottom-six has taken a barrage of body blows this offseason and they now lack depth.
Could Glass be the answer? As mentioned in a previous article, I wouldn’t put the 20-year-old on the fourth-line because I think it will be counterproductive to his talents as a potential elite two-way playmaker. Instead, it could make sense to put the rookie on a third-line with Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch to start the year.
Although a center, Glass could begin 2019-20 on the left wing and he would benefit from having a veteran pivot in Eakin next to him, not to mention the fact that he will also have a high-end sniper in Tuch on his line who amassed 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) last year.
Glass, who was recently named No.5 overall in the Sporting News’ Top 50 NHL Prospects List, boasts elite hockey smarts, an ability to transition out of the zone quickly and smoothly, excellent puck control skills, sublime playmaking ability and he can be an absolute pest on the fore-check.
He tallied a staggering 292 points (94 goals, 198 assists) in 239 games for the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, before elevating his talents to the next level by five points (three goals, two assists) in six games for the Chicago Wolves down the stretch of the AHL regular season, in addition to lighting up the postseason with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 22 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Glass has all the tools required to be a huge success story in the NHL and, if he can add an increased element of physicality to his game, then he could morph into an elite top-six forward in the NHL. His ceiling is that high.
The fact that Glass is ranked by some as just a few spots behind generational talents Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, who were taken No.1 and No.2 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft respectively, backs up the fact that Glass is the best prospect currently in the Vegas farm system.
It is no secret that the Golden Knights crave secondary scoring and they could get that by the bucketload in Glass, which strengthens the argument to have him on the 2019-20 opening night roster. And, let’s be honest, how much fun would it be watching Alex Tuch one-time Cody Glass dishes beyond helpless goalies and vice-versa? It could be a potent partnership for the Knights and could elevate their third-line to a whole different level.
Of course, it will be firmly on Glass’ shoulders to knuckle down, work hard and impress throughout training camp in order to convince Head Coach Gerard Gallant that he’s equipped and ready mentally and physically for the challenges of adapting to the NHL on a night-to-night basis.
There is also the possibility of Glass beginning the year in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves and then being called-up at a later date should the Golden Knights need to spark their offense into life.
However, whether he begins 2019-20 on the Vegas Golden Knights’ opening night roster or if he gets the call to the majors at a later date, there is no doubt that Cody Glass is ready to make the leap to the NHL and this year could be the year he shows the rest of the hockey world just how good he really can be.