Cody Glass isn’t shy about discussing the disappointments of his rookie year.
The Golden Knights’ first-ever draft pick said it “sucks” his season was cut short by a right knee injury in February. It “sucks” he couldn’t be in Edmonton, Alberta, with the rest of the Knights for the postseason. Even before that, Glass said he wasn’t happy with his play.
A promising start to his NHL career, including a goal in his debut against the San Jose Sharks, went off course because of inconsistency and a lack of strength. But the 21-year-old is back on the ice skating and plotting a course for a much-improved sophomore campaign.
“I’m ready to take on that spot,” Glass said. “For me to be able to do that, I just need to get stronger. I know I’m intelligent enough for that line and to play up in the lineup.”
There’s no doubt Glass has the talent to succeed Stastny, a veteran he said taught him so much about the game. Glass, the sixth overall pick in 2017, has always carried plenty of promise because of his exceptional vision on the ice.
His first NHL season was rocky, however. He played well to start the season but finished with 12 points in 39 games. He was moved around the lineup and had trouble adjusting. More than anything else, he wasn’t where he needed to be physically to thrive in the NHL.
“It’s all about speed and strength,” Glass said. “I feel I can keep up with the pace, it’s all about the little details in the gym that can get you better.”
Glass set out to rectify some of those weaknesses this offseason. But first, he focused on getting healthy.
The first four months after his knee surgery in March were about rehabbing. It made his lifestyle pretty repetitive in Las Vegas, though he did learn how to play a few songs on teammate Nic Hague’s acoustic guitar. He didn’t even go home to Canada because he was afraid the mandatory 14-day quarantine would inhibit his progress.
He’s come a long way because of his dedication and started skating a few weeks ago. There are just a few more steps to clear before he’s fully healthy again.
“I can’t really put a percentage on it, but I think I’m getting really close,” Glass said. “I’m starting to feel really good.”
Glass’ other focus has been changing his body. He thought he was knocked around too easily as a rookie and lost too many puck battles, so he has worked on adding leg strength and stabilizing his core.
The results are already there. Glass said he weighs 207 pounds now. He was listed at 194 by the Knights in February.
“It was a huge priority,” Glass said. “That’s probably the biggest thing I needed to work on, just one-on-one battles. I feel like I was getting pushed off the puck a lot my first year.”
A bigger, stronger Glass could make a huge impact for the Knights. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said this offseason he’s excited to see the forward in training camp.
The team has a need down the middle with Stastny’s departure. If Glass can fill it, it would be a huge boost to their Stanley Cup aspirations.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Glass said. “I think the longest time I’ve had off (before this) is two months maybe. For me to finally focus on my body and do the right things on and off the ice, it makes me feel good and more confident in myself going into next season.”
Cody Glass file
— Age: 21
— Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Height/weight: 6-2/207
— Position: Center/right wing
— Shoots: Right
— Number: 9
— 2019-20 stats: 39 games, five goals, seven assists