Predators’ Cody Glass Finally Getting NHL Opportunity

Nashville Predators forward Cody Glass had an emotional start to the 2022-23 NHL Season. Predators general manager (GM) David Poile called the young forward into his office before the team’s flight to Europe to begin the regular season. His nerves were apparent, eyes slightly sunken, lips quivering, not knowing whether to prepare for disappointment or delight. Poile calls back to the prior season, where Glass began the season with the Milwaukee Admirals, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Preds. Worry strikes. The former first-round pick has had a tough go in the NHL. Never playing an entire season in the show, a shocking trade three-way trade that sent Nolan Patrick to the Golden Knights in exchange for his talents – two struggling players from the 2017 NHL Draft

Poile breaks the news. Glass made the team. Emotions overflow as tears begin to trickle down his beat red cheeks. Relief, laughter, and apologies spill over as his fingers swipe his red-tinted eyes, tearful eyes. Finally, Glass belongs. 

Glass’ Road to the NHL

Glass’ road to the NHL is not the linear projection many fans associate with sixth-overall draft picks. After a 96-point season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL), the expansion Vegas Golden Knights selected the forward, marking him as the first draft pick in franchise history. The following season, Glass accumulated 102 points in the WHL and 69 points in 38 games captaining the Winterhawks in the 2018-19 season. 

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Fast-forward to his first NHL game. He scored, and the Stanley Cup-competing Golden Knights may have found another boost for their inevitable cup run. Or so the organization thought. Throughout his tenure with the Golden Knights, he only played 66 games, scoring 22 points. In the 2021 NHL offseason, Glass was involved in a three-way trade, where the Golden Knights acquired a former second-overall pick for Nolan Patrick for his talents. The Predators gave up veteran defencemen Ryan Ellis in exchange for gathering the assets for the player. 

Glass is Now a Predator

Beginning his career with the Predators felt like Deja Vu. Cody Glass started his first season with the Admirals in the AHL, only getting eight games in the second half of the season to show Preds fans his talents. Only assisting on one goal in the short stint, many could quickly write him off as another high-end bust in recent years. However, he did not want to be associated with that word. 

Cody Glass Nashville Predators
Cody Glass, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“I worked really hard,” Glass told GM David Poile upon making the team.

He is not lying. Glass, an offensively gifted junior player, who flashed his play-making prowess in the AHL with the Admirals, totalling 48 assists and 14 goals for 62 points in 66 games, had to transform his game to find a spot on the defence-first Predators.  

Glass Emerges as Top Defender in NHL

Glass is among the best defensive forwards in the NHL. His defensive wins above replacement (WAR) is sitting within the 90th percentile while improving in nearly every defensive and offensive category since his last season in the NHL. Additionally, due to his defensive impact, The Athletics analytic model values him as a $4.6 million player, bringing a surplus of $3.7 million (from ‘NHL Player Cards: Nashville Predators,’ The Athletic, Jan. 30, 2023). Glass is one of the few Predators forwards to have a surplus value, according to Dom Luszczyszyn’s model. Finding value is essential due to the massive contracts of Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene clogging up cap space in the organization. 

This season, Glass has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points in 59 games. Glimpses of his offensive capabilities shine through in Predators games, showing he still possesses the scoring touch scouts saw in junior. Along with the points and staggering analytic defensive numbers, Glass has 57 hits, 30 takeaways to only 19 giveaways, and 1.93 expected points per 60 minutes. 

Glass’ Potential with the Predators

The Glass Golden Knights fan believed they drafted is long gone. Instead, following a trade to the Predators, the team is developing a promising two-way centre with a top-six upside. If Glass does not become a suitable second-line centre for the Preds in his prime, he will be among the best third-line centres in the league.

Related: 3 Predators Who Won’t Be Back Next Season

At this moment, Glass will help the Predators in their immediate push for the playoffs to end the 2022-23 season and will aid significantly in their re-tool in the coming years. Glass’ resurgence should provide hope to fans, showing that the organization can develop reclamation projects into good, even great, NHL players. 

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