Tanner Glass went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver in 2011, where the Canucks fell in seven games to Boston – a run he said “was probably the best month of my hockey career.”
That summer, Glass signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets – who made a valiant effort to make the postseason, but ultimately fell short.
“It was just so much fun to be in that race,” he said of the 2011 postseason. “You really realize how special it is when the next season, you don’t make the playoffs. You just think back on that and you just really want to get back there. For me, that’s important.”
And that is why Glass signed a two-year deal with constant Cup contender Pittsburgh on Sunday. The deal, which runs through the 2013-14 campaign, has an average annual value of $1.1 million.
“I think any chance you can get to be on a team as good as the Penguins, you’ve got to jump at it,” he said.
“It’s awesome. It’s a really good feeling,” he continued of getting a deal done with Pittsburgh. “It’s a really good organization to be joining.”
Glass, 28, is a physical, feisty forward who had a big season individually with Winnipeg in 2011-12. He led the Jets and ranked 10th in the NHL with a career-high 246 hits, while his 51 blocked shots ranked second among Winnipeg forwards and his average of 1:46 shorthanded minutes per game placed fourth.
Glass also saw his average time on ice shoot from 7:28 minutes per game to 13:25 minutes per game. Overall, it was a much bigger role than the one he occupied the previous season for the Canucks – and he’s pleased with how the year went.
“I was really fortunate in Winnipeg to play in some big situations,” he said. “The penalty kill and other major responsibilities for me. I played against some of the top lines in the league on a nightly basis. I think those are great minutes, and you learn a lot in those minutes. It was just a privilege to have that much ice time last year, and I had a really good year.”
Glass said he's spoken with Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma about what his role will be here in Pittsburgh. Glass is confident that his style of play will allow him to build off last year’s performance with the aggressive, offensive-minded system that’s in place.
“I like to forecheck. I like to put pressure on the opposition,” he said. “I just try to be tough to play against. I bring an up-tempo, fast brand of hockey. Games tend to be fun for me.
“I think I can contribute to this team. I really like the kind of hockey that they play in Pittsburgh. I’m just really excited to join the team out there.”
Glass, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, will have at least one familiar face in the locker room when he travels east to Pittsburgh, as he was college teammates with Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy for three seasons at Dartmouth.
“I talked to Ben about Pittsburgh,” Glass said. “We’re good friends, so over the past few years he’s always shared his stories and our wives exchanged phone calls this morning, too. It’s good to have a friend in the organization, that’s for sure.”
And it’s good to have Glass here.