The Vegas Golden Knights once again find themselves in a tight series in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens are proving themselves to be viable opponents for Vegas. However, some of this can be attributed to Chandler Stephenson’s absence from the lineup.
Without Stephenson, the first line has gone cold. Head coach Pete DeBoer has tried multiple different players at center, but none have seemed to stick for more than a period. However, there is one player they have not tried yet on this line: Cody Glass. The former first-round draft pick has the skill to slot in nicely to this role and helps give Vegas an edge over Montreal.
What He Brings to the Lineup
Although he has not been a stable figure in the Golden Knights lineup throughout the 2020-21 season, Glass does bring some valuable skills to the team. He has the skills to produce on both ends of the ice. In the 2020-21 season, he was able to produce four goals and six assists in 27 games. He also carried a plus-6 rating.
Glass has proven he is a capable NHL player and with Stephenson out, it is the best time to showcase what he can bring to Vegas in the playoffs. He has already played with the top line multiple times during the year. During his time on the first line, it was clear that he had chemistry with both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.
So far in the Montreal series, Stone and Pacioretty have combined for only two points. By inserting Glass in as center between these two, it could jump-start the two elite wingers. With Glass being a natural center, it would make him much more reliable in all areas of the ice.
Even though it is early in his career, Glass has made a name for himself on the Golden Knights’ power play. During his career, half of all the points he has recorded have come courtesy of the man advantage. This is impressive as he already has 11 power-play points in just two years in the NHL. In fact, he finished tied for third in power-play goals during the 2020-21 regular season. When considering he only played 27 games, this is an eye-catching stat.
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The Golden Knights could use this spark on their power play, as it is currently the worst in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. At an abysmal 10.3%, Vegas’ lackluster regular-season power-play performance has carried over into the playoffs. Glass can make an immediate impact if given the chance to head the power play. His ability to find the open man with a pass or fire a shot past the goalie makes Glass an obvious choice for the upcoming Game 5 in Las Vegas.
Time to Prove Himself
The one disadvantage of playing Glass would be his lack of NHL playoff experience. So far, his only career playoff game came in Game 6 in the opening round. In this game, he played 12:09 and recorded two shots with no points. He also had a minus-1 rating in the shutout loss to the Minnesota Wild. However, unless the Golden Knights decide to hold him out of the lineup until next season, there is no other way he can get experience. Vegas has a solid defensive core, elite goaltending and four strong lines. Even if Glass were to make a mistake, there is help.
Glass needs to get playoff experience if Vegas wants him to take the next step in his career. It can help him see the game in a faster and more intense atmosphere. The Golden Knights do not have to look far to see an example of this as Keegan Kolesar is showing what playing in the postseason can do for development.
Initially left out of the lineup, Kolesar was given a chance during the late stages of the second round against the Colorado Avalanche. In his first game back, he made a critical block late in the game that helped the Golden Knights secure the victory. Since this moment, he has been playing with more confidence and it is showing. In fact, he has been given some minutes on the top line because of his increased level of play.
Taking everything into consideration, there is no real reason why the Golden Knights should not put Glass in the lineup. He is still one of their top assets and he has the chance to increase his value if he performs. He has experience playing center on the top line and is responsible enough in the defensive zone to keep the puck out of the net.
I am a former Jr. A hockey player that is currently attending school at San Diego State University. At SDSU, I study Journalism and Public Relations while also playing on the school’s rugby team. Hockey has been a big part of my life, as I have been playing since I was three years old. Other than hockey, I enjoy watching and playing all kinds of sports.