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NHL Draft

Cody Glass has breakout season at perfect time

Portland center climbs NHL Draft rankings after surpassing own expectations

by Guillaume Lepage @GLepageLNH / LNH.com Staff Writer

Cody Glass might not have made the trip to the Stanley Cup Final in Nashville with Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi and Casey Mittelstadt, but make no mistake, he is among the best prospects available in the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas. 

The team that selects Glass might even get the biggest sleeper of the draft.

Glass has come a long way to reach his status as the No. 6-rated North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. He had a respectable rookie season with Portland of the Western Hockey League in 2015-16, finishing with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 65 games. But the most important season of his career got off on the wrong foot when the 6-foot-2, 178-pound center did not make Canada's entry in the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

"It's tough to get cut by a team you want to play for," he said. "It was the first time I had ever been cut. There were two ways to look at it, either you feel sorry for yourself or you use it as motivation."

Glass certainly did not choose door No 1.

In his first 10 games with Portland this season, Glass had 16 points (five goals, 11 assists). That set the table for an impressive season of 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 69 games. His points per game average of 1.36 was third among draft-eligible players in the WHL behind Spokane forward Kailer Yamamoto (1.52) and Patrick (1.39).

 

[RELATED: Complete 2017 NHL Draft coverage]

 

What was even more impressive is Glass spent the bulk of the season playing on a line with Skyler McKenzie, who totaled 41 points in his first two seasons in Portland. Playing with Glass, he had 84 (42 goals, 42 assists) in 72 games.

Glass couldn't have imagined putting together such a great season at such a perfect time.

"My goal was to average a point per game, but I really surpassed my expectations," Glass said. "I kept improving all season, I adjusted my goals and I kept surpassing them."

Glass figures his summer training and a renewed sense of confidence are the best explanations for his huge jump in production this season. However, he also believes the return of coach Mike Johnston after he spent 1 ½ seasons as Pittsburgh Penguins coach played a significant role.

Video: Dave Reid on the strengths of prospect Cody Glass

"He knows how to develop his players and that's one of the reasons I chose to come play in Portland," Glass said of Johnston. "He's very good. He lets me do practically whatever I want in the offensive zone as long as I do my job in the defensive zone. He's been a big help.

"He gave me the opportunity to play on the top line, on the power play, on the penalty kill. He gave me an opportunity to succeed and I think that's what I did."

According to Johnston, Glass worked his way into earning those opportunities.

"Cody sees everyone on the ice," Johnston told The Province newspaper. "He can produce offensively, but at Christmas we started using him on the penalty kill because we wanted him to work on all aspects of his game. He quickly became our best penalty killer. That shows what he's capable of."

To put a bow on his tremendous season, Glass was selected to play for Canada at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He finished with three points (two goals, one assist) in three games, proving one final time before the draft that he was among the best players available.

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