Tanner Glass became a whipping boy in New York by struggling to produce out of the gate after signing a three-year contract that holds a cap hit of 1.4 million dollars per year. In his second season the forward was sent to Hartford, and was all but forgotten, until he found his way back, due to an injury to Rangers center Derek Stepan. Since returning to the NHL club, Glass has been all anyone could expect and more, and he seems to have earned his full-time spot again with Jarret Stoll now departed from New York. Glass has been better in all three zone’s and now looks like the player that the Rangers originally thought they were getting when they made a respectable commitment to the forward. The Rangers haven’t been playing well lately, but their slide isn’t because of Glass.
Glass has resumed his role as a grinder since returning against the Islanders, and his physical presence has been a huge help to a Rangers team that didn’t often make defenses think twice about hanging onto the puck. Glass has 51 hits in his 13 regular season games so far, and he seems to be meshing well on the fourth-line. The forward has always been good at throwing his weight around so I’m not shocked to see him playing such a ferocious style.
One key to the forward being better has been his ability to win some puck battles on the walls, and keep plays alive. He’s doing a much better job of working with his line-mates to create pressure in the zone and everyone is better for it. Glass ranks first on the Rangers in hits per game with and average of 3.9, the next closest forward to him is Chris Kreider who is averaging 2.1 hits per game. With Glass doing the heavy lifting deep in the zone, he’s allowing his line-mates to get open.
In the past it seemed like even when Glass would get a chance, the puck would find a way not to go in. What I notice about him now, is that he’s doing a better job of getting to the net, and he seems to be seeing the play better. He only has one goal thus far, but to me the big adjustment he’s made, is not running around trying to crush everyone. Glass is still playing his hard-nosed style as I mentioned above, he just seems to have more confidence around the puck, and is more aware than he was last season.
I’m not going to say that this goal was a beauty, but I think it’s a great example of exactly how Glass has improved. Before Glass was sent down, he likely goes running into a fruitless play trying to throw a heavy hit, instead he sees the goalie make a mistake, sees that Dominic Moore has the puck and does a good job getting to the net to cash in. If he’s thinking only about throwing a hit there he likely misses this chance, and the Rangers don’t rally to get a point in the game.
Tanner Glass has been all the Rangers could have hoped for since getting back into the lineup. He gives the team that extra snarl and edge on the wall. When he takes a step back from being a pure hitter, then it seems that he can actually be effective in keeping plays alive. Glass is known as a great teammate, and a real tough guy to have to drop the gloves with, but he’s underrated in his ability to play a well-rounded game.
With Glass playing well the Rangers have more options, they can now keep him as a depth guy, or they could look to move him if another team becomes interested. At this point in time it’s a win-win for both sides.