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2017 NHL Draft prospect profile: Cody Glass soared to the top after a breakout season with the Winterhawks

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Glass rocketed up the ranks after figuring out his game.

Portland Winter Hawks v Vancouver Giants Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

There wasn’t much attention paid to Cody Glass as the 2016-17 WHL season began, coming off a rookie campaign in which he contributed just 10 goals and 17 assists in 65 games. But a quick start out the gate and an efficient approach to the game had observers taking notice.

“Last year, I was a bit more timid with the puck and didn’t really know what to do with it,” he explained in an interview with DUBNetwork in November.

With a summer to work on the weaknesses in his game and having a better understanding of how junior hockey was played, he entered the season a much more confident player, and the results weren’t long in following.

Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Shoots: Right
Position: Centre
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 179

At the end of the year he held the Portland Winterhawks’ scoring title with 94 points in 69 games. That mark was good for seventh in the WHL, and four points back of Kailer Yamamoto for the league lead among first-year-draft-eligible players.

He did achieve that mark with the help of 27 secondary assists, finishing 11th in primary points.

Image credit: EliteProspects

The most impressive part of his sudden offensive explosion was his five-on-five contribution. He ranked fifth in that category after hitting the scoresheet 63 times at even strength, finishing ahead of fellow draft-eligible WHL centres Mason Shaw (61) and Morgan Geekie (56).

The drastic change is fortunes can be partially attributed to a strong style of play, using a north-south approach to the game that doesn’t see him stray far from the middle of the ice. He travels up and down the rink like a centreman in a table-top game, and that keeps him in good position to both keep passing options open and be near the net to take full advantage of his quick release or crash the crease for a loose puck.

That style also means he’s in a sound defensive position while in his own end, closing off passes through the middle and able to lead a breakout when one of those passes results in a change of possession.

Seeing the strong defensive side of Glass’ game, head coach Mike Johnston (formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins) gave him his first taste of short-handed duty partway through the season, and was rewarded for the move as Glass excelled in that situation to become one of the team’s top penalty-killers.

Johnston compares Glass’ game — both in the strengths in his approach to the centre position and the areas he’ll need to address in his development — to one of his former stars from a previous stint with Portland: Ryan Johansen.

Glass shares a similar build with the Nashville Predators player, and has the same type of hockey sense and vision that has allowed Johansen to become a number-one centre in the NHL.

If he is to reach a similar level, Glass will need to add more muscle to his 6’2” frame, while also attempting to improve his skating stride. He moves well when he gets to top speed, but his acceleration will need to progress if he’s going to thrive at the professional level. Adding a quick-strike ability to what is already top-end skill in the offensive and defensive zones will allow him to transition the puck much more easily and make him a true three-zone player.


Future Considerations (May 2017)

Glass surprised me the most as a guy who I thought would be more of role type player in early season views but continually impressed me on his way to putting up over 90 points, and in the meantime becoming the most integral part of the Winterhawks’ attack. Although not the sexiest skater, he has puck skills and the hockey sense to manage the offensive pace with a good balance between his shooting and passing abilities. Bit of a blue-collar guy and someone who I honestly didn’t see putting together a year like this, but this kind of development makes me excited about just how much more he will improve.

Elite Prospects (2017)

A dangerous two-way centre who thinks the game at a high level, never making the same mistake twice. He is analytical and patient in the development of his strengths. He transitions up ice quickly and is able to create and dictate offensive chances on the rush. He attacks hard and fast and consistently displays excellent puck control. His decision-making is very good, indicative of his high level of hockey sense. He plays a complete game and elevates his play as energy levels rise. At the next level, he will need to be even faster and more physically assertive to make his presence felt.


Future Considerations: 10
Central Scouting service: 6 (North American skaters)
McKeen’s: 8

Not even on the radar when the initial 2017 rankings were released, Glass impressed scouts enough to enter the draft in a top-10 position.


It’s a lot of faith to put in a single season of junior hockey, but the underlying skill set seems sound, and it’s one he confesses he only discovered this season. That game should only continue to improve over time as he develops some habits and understands what he can and can’t do on the ice.

Glass will need more time before that progress is complete enough for him to step into the NHL. The physical improvement will likely require more than one season before he’s able to go up against what is much faster and much stronger opposition in the game’s top league.

Whichever team feels it can afford to wait a few years for a top-10 forward selection to bear fruit should see dividends from choosing Cody Glass this June. He has an enticing set of skills, and there’s still lots of room for improvement.

Stats from Elite Prospects and Prospect-Stats.