One player to see their stock rise over the last months of the season is Portland Winterhawks centre Cody Glass. In most pre-season rankings, Glass was ranked outside of the first round. But by mid season he was slotted 8th amongst North American skaters, and then ended up at 6th in the final rankings and could've been even higher based on his season.
The Winnipeg native is a dangerous two way centre who uses his high level hockey IQ to create offence. Primarily a playmaker, Glass has excellent puck skills and patience that allow him to control the play. Forcing opponents to adjust their structure to defend against him, Glass is able to attack with speed or slow the game down. He is a handful for opposing teams to contain as there is no way to know what he is going to do.
The 6'2" and 180 lbs centre makes his teammates better by putting them into situations that quickly become high percentage chances. One intriguing part to Glass's game is that despite being a natural centre, he would play all three forward spots. This happened throughout the season and even during a single game. For example, Glass would start the game lined up as the left winger, then shift to centre and then hop between all three spots as the game went on.
That versatility and ability to adapt to his situation is an underrated aspect to his game that shows how high end his hockey IQ is. In the moment, he won't blow you away with any particular play but once the puck is in the back of the net, you look back and see how Glass made the whole thing happen.
Video: Cody Glass - Prospect Profile
Glass doesn't have a specific weakness to his game that stands out. Some of have pointed to his skating being choppy or rigid, but that is a fixable skill with some coaching. He will need to add some more speed, strength and improve his shot but none of them are a detriment to his game and should improve through the normal development curve.
He posted 10 goals and 17 assists during his rookie season in the 2015-16 as he was given limited minutes in a depth role. He was relied upon in all situations this year, and reaped the rewards.
The right handed centre was productive throughout this season putting up 32 goals and 62 assists in 69 games. Those 32 goals were fourth amongst first-time draft eligible forwards, which is impressive given that Glass's calling card is a playmaker. His 62 assists were ranked second in that same peer group trailing only Medicine Hats centre Mason Shaw.
Glass spent 80.9% of his season playing with Skyler McKenzie, whose previous career high in points was 25. This year Glass helped elevate his point totals to 84. This just reaffirms how dominant Glass was and how he can help elevate his teammates. Glass ended the season with the third best point per game rate and primary point per game rate of the WHL draft eligible forwards:
The Winterhawks centre was one of the last cuts by Team Canada for the Ivan Hlinka tournament to start the season and it appeared to motivate him this year. At the conclusion of the Winterhawks season, Glass was added to the Under 18 World Championships roster and put up 2 goals and 1 assist in three games. Unfortunately, Canada wasn't able to capture a medal but being a late addition to the roster is just another indication of how far Glass progressed this year. It's fair to believe that he will be in consideration for the World Juniors this upcoming December.
Every year, players see their stock rise as their draft year progresses. Sometimes that rise is of concern as it could be a flash in the pan that creates a false expectation. But that isn't something to be concerned about with Glass as he has all the makings of a good NHL player. Scouts have compared his game to Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele and Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen.
Both of those players are great players who have made an impact on the NHL, and Glass has outscored Johansen in almost every category when you compare their draft eligible seasons.
If a Canucks are looking for a play making centre, Glass may be the best option available at 5th overall. He reads the play extremely well, has a tireless work ethic, and creates offence in a multitude of ways.