By Jason Karnosky
Sometimes a trade is exactly what a hockey career needs.
For Admirals forward Cody Glass, things couldn’t have worked out much better since the talented forward had a change of scenery. Originally, the first ever draft selection of the Vegas Golden Knights, Glass had been hampered by injuries in recent years.
After a trade this past summer sent him from Sin City to the Nashville organization, Glass has taken full advantage of his new situation. Free from the pressures faced in Vegas, the talented forward is thriving in Milwaukee this season. Through 53 games, Glass leads Milwaukee with 31 assists, and ranks third on the team with 41 points.
“Cody’s is a good young man, who really wants to have success,” Admirals coach Karl Taylor said of Glass. “He has high expectations for himself, and he’s been playing really well for us. He’s getting all kinds of scoring chances.”
Glass’s recent play is a big reason why Milwaukee (26-21-4-2—58 points, third place in the Central Division) is currently the hottest team in the American Hockey League (AHL). The 6-foot-3 center slots in as the lead pivot on a squad that recently won 11 of 12 games.
“During our recent winning streak it’s helped having the same lineup most nights,” said Glass, who ranks tied for seventh in the AHL in assists. “With our lineup set, it’s been easier for us to kind of read off of each other and our chemistry is showing.”
Milwaukee’s top line is a prime example of that chemistry. On that line Glass is flourishing, skating alongside fellow veteran forwards Rocco Grimaldi and captain Cole Schneider. The trio rank one, two, and three on the Admirals in points.
“As a 22-year-old, playing with a couple of veterans like Cole and Rocco has been really good for me,” Glass said. “I’ve always been a pretty talented passer, and that works well playing with those guys. Plus, they are great guys on and off the ice.”
On Milwaukee’s top line, Grimaldi provides game-breaking speed and a deft scoring touch, while Schneider provides the grit and an uncompromising will to get to the net. Glass is the glue that brings the line together, and serves as the setup man for his talented linemates. It’s a combination that has helped the Admirals become the hottest team in the AHL.
“I think we work really well together and our line is a great mixture,” Glass said. “(Cole and Rocco) both really support me with their play, and that’s something I really appreciate playing along with them. They know where to be at the right times, and they are really smart hockey players.”
When Vegas chose Glass sixth overall in 2017, the franchise had high expectations for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native. Glass had a nice start to his career playing in 39 games with the 2019-20 Golden Knights before suffering a significant knee injury. After a lengthy rehab, the following season Glass split time with Vegas, where he saw 27 games of NHL action, and 14 for the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights.
In the offseason Vegas decided to move on from their first ever prospect. Glass was traded to Nashville (along with Phillippe Myers) as part of a three-way deal that also included Philadelphia. Popular Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis was sent to the Flyers, while Nolan Patrick was acquired by the Golden Knights. It was a bittersweet moment for Glass. While thankful for his time in Vegas, Glass was excited for a new future in the Predators organization.
“Growing up you just dream about being in the NHL, and getting to be the first ever pick for an expansion team was a really cool thing,” Glass said. “The Golden Knights were really good to me and my family, and I’ll cherish the memories I had there. Coming here to Nashville, I got to join another really good organization. I’m looking forward to many years here.”
After the trade, Glass was hopeful to be in the plans for the Predators for much of this season. He made the Predators out of training camp, and saw action in a pair of early games with Nashville in mid-October. However, after failing to score, the talented center was sent to Milwaukee to continue his growth and development.
“Cody is a young man who had an injury, but he’s a guy who is really playing well right now,” Taylor said. “It took him a little while to find his ground, get reestablished, and get his foundation established. We’ve done lots of work with him, but at the same time he’s done a lot of work himself to get better.”
After a slow start with the Admirals, Glass found his groove playing alongside Schneider and Grimaldi. Soon after the line was formed, Glass had one of his most productive games with Milwaukee. On a night where Schneider scored three goals without the puck ever touching his stick, Glass piled up three assists in his team’s 5-2 win over Iowa on November 6, 2021. Later in the month Glass put together a six-game point streak.
“Cody was a guy that didn’t play a lot of hockey over the past couple of years, but you can see that he’s starting to get his confidence back,” Admirals assistant coach Greg Rallo said. “Lately you are starting to see why Cody was drafted where he was and why he’s projected to play in the NHL. He’s been hanging on to pucks a little longer, and making plays for us. It is good to see him having success.”
As the Admirals got hot in December, so did Glass. During a stretch from December 13 to December 31, 2021, Glass scored four goals in five games. It was one of the times this season when pucks were going in for Glass, and the forward did have his first multi-goal game of the season in his team’s 4-2 win over Texas February 12.
“Cody is a good player who makes a lot of plays,” Schneider said. “He gets a lot of assists for us, but he gets a lot of scoring chances too. He was a little bit snake bitten goal-wise early on in the year, but you always see him getting the chances and you know he’s playing the right way.”
The lack of goal scoring this season is the only blemish on what has been a great transition year for the 22-year-old forward. Even with the goals not going in easily, Glass has played a huge part in his team’s recent hot run. Since January 17, 2022, Glass has points in all but four games, helping his team move back into a playoff position in the Central Division.
“Cody hasn’t been able to be a consistent goal scorer as of yet for our team, but that is going to come for him because of the way he’s been working on his game and with the opportunities that have been presented to him,” Taylor said. “He’s been making lots of plays, and he’s been leading our team in five-on-five scoring. Cody’s doing a lot of good things, but there are areas for him to keep pushing on.”
Despite all of the offensive production, it is Glass’s work ethic that most impresses his teammates and coaches. The young center always goes the extra mile to improve his game in an all-out pursuit of a permanent spot in the NHL.
“I just want to become more of a two-way player, more of a solid player, and more of an NHL-level player,” Glass said. “The biggest thing for me to improve on is just becoming more complete as a player.”
Glass’s determination rubs off well on his teammates, who see one of their top forwards coming to the rink everyday with the goal of getting better and better.
“Cody is digging in and doing more for us, and that is what you need to do to develop,” Taylor said. “He’s working with our skating coach, he’s working on his shot, and he’s doing a lot of things that he needs to do to improve his game. He’s setting a great example for his teammates to follow.”
Glass’s teammates have certainly taken notice of the power forward’s will to succeed.
“Cody’s a great kid with a great attitude, who is also highly skilled and he sees the ice very well,” Admirals defenseman Matt Donovan said. “He’s a very highly touted prospect, but he comes to work every day and wants to get better every day. If he keeps working hard like he does and getting better every day, he’s going to have a great career in the NHL.”
With 70 games of NHL experience to date, Glass knows what it takes to play at the game’s highest level on a consistent basis. The goal now for Glass is to continue to work on his game in Milwaukee, so that his next trip to the NHL is a permanent one.
“Being in the NHL, everybody is good, everyone is fast, and everyone is strong, so you have to work on all areas of your game if you want to play there and stick there,” Glass said. “That is what I’m trying to get to during my time in Milwaukee. There is some good in my game, but I need to be more well-rounded to make the jump and stay there for good.”