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Unless The Third Line Produces Cody Glass Should Be The Center

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

During the four games Cody Eakin was out to start the year the Golden Knights experimented with centers Cody Glass on the second line and Paul Stastny on the third. However, it was obvious based on Gerard Gallant’s answers that very little, if any, thought was necessary in figuring out where Eakin would play when he was ready to return. The moment he was ready to go, Eakin found his normal role as the third line center. This moved Stastny up to the second line and pushed 20-year-old rookie Glass to the wing.

Vegas is comfortable with Eakin as the third line center, and they should be as they’ve won 100 of their first 173 games with Eakin in that position for a majority of them. But, after five games of lackluster performance, the time has come for reconsideration from the Vegas coaching staff.

In five games with Eakin as the center between Glass and either Brandon Pirri or Valentin Zykov, the third line has scored just one goal in 42:39 of even-strength ice time. They’ve managed just 22 shots on goal and have created only five high-danger scoring chances. To make matters worse, the one goal came on a puck that was deflected by a Flames defenseman into his own net and happened with less than three minutes left in a three-goal game. Aside from it padding the stats, it really was meaningless.

In other words, the third line with Cody Eakin as the center has created absolutely nothing offensively over five games and 42+ minutes of ice time.

Just look at how they compare to the other three lines.

 G/60S/60SC/60HDSC/60
1st Line3.635.436.114.2
2nd Line2.136.027.59.5
3rd Line1.430.125.37.0
4th Line1.829.828.012.1

The third line is the worst in every single category except shots on goal, in which they are just one shot better than the fourth line.

The problem isn’t their lack of production though. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that they are costing the Golden Knights games, because they aren’t (they haven’t allowed a single goal against). What I am trying to say though is that this line isn’t good enough to force a developing rookie to play out of position.

Cody Eakin has played in five games. He doesn’t have a goal or an assist. Brandon Pirri has played in six games. He has just one point, an assist. The now-suspended Valentin Zykov played in seven games. He had two points, both assists.

None of this is good enough to justify playing Glass in a position that isn’t projected to be his future. Glass is a center. His offensive game is best at center, his defensive game is best at center, and if all goes well, he’s eventually going to become the best center on the Golden Knights. Yet here we are, nine games into the season, and Glass is playing on the wing of a line that’s not producing offense.

In four games as a center with Stone and Pacioretty, Glass scored an even-strength goal and registered an even-strength assist. In five as a winger, he’s scored just that one fluke goal and doesn’t have an assist.

In five games, the Eakin-centered third line has not produced a single game in which they consistently look dangerous in the offensive zone. There are flashes from time to time, but in no single game have they recorded more than one scoring chance every two minutes. They aren’t hurting the Golden Knights, but they certainly aren’t helping.

The question I pose today is simple. Is Cody Eakin doing enough as a center to make it worthwhile to stall the development of Cody Glass as an NHL-level center?

My answer is absolutely not, and the longer it goes, the more the Golden Knights will look back and regret it at the end of the year when they head into the playoffs with Glass as one of their four primary centers.

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26 Comments

  1. Jason

    I think cody will be moved at the deadline. May be able to get a rental or upgrade on the blueline. He does not really do anything good or bad.

    • Cody

      Are you high? Or just trolling?

      • NotCody

        Poor choice on using first names. I assume he means Cody Eakin being moved, not Cody Glass.

    • Skeeter Thompson

      I think Ken and a lot of folk would agree that Eakin will be shopped. But that will make the front office look completely incompetent re: Gusev. What if they trade Eakin during the season for a 3rd pair defenseman, when they could’ve traded him during the offseason for a pick and almost definitely freed up enough room for Gusev? With Gusev already proving he’s a 1st line scoring talent and will be for years to come, this has become a Forsberg for Erat-type debacle.

      • Rex

        Hahaha!
        Gusev is on Devils 4th line and played 9 and 7 minutes the last 2 games, he has a 4.5 million cap hit and has been a disaster.
        ”1st line scoring talent”, you read to much bullshit, sadly alot right here on this page and their twitter.
        Gusev is the 2nd worst player in the NHL 5vs5 so far this season after Luke Glendening in Detroit.
        Read some statistics and watch the games, dont listen to people trying to protect their massive egos.

        • Skeeter Thompson

          Looks like GM has an intern defending him. Gusev has 3x more goals than Wild Bill, Marchy, Pirri & Eakin combined (in fewer games) and he’s much better defensively than Pirri (or Haula, for Haula lovers). He wouldn’t have cost the Knights $4.5M because of our state tax situation. But most importantly, would you rather have Gusev for years to come or Eakin, who will either walk after the year or be traded for a 4th round pick or a #5 Dman? That was basically the front office’s choice and they made a dumb decision.

          • Gerrad Anson

            Firstly, state tax doesn’t really mean shit in terms of contracts. Mark Stone’s $9.5 mil x 8 contract saves $570,000 in tax money over its entire lifetime, or $71,250 per year (source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanlake/2019/03/07/mark-stone-hits-the-tax-jackpot-in-vegas/#2a4783c748c8); if that’s all the highest paid player on the team is saving, then whatever Gusev saves would be so small a dent that Gusev probably wouldn’t even bother – at minimum, it’d still be >$4 mil compared to Eakin’s $3.85 mil cap hit. Secondly, Gusev’s contract lasts two years, then he’s a UFA capable of fucking off to wherever he wants. We really didn’t lose that much, assuming that getting the cap space for him in the first place was a possibility.

          • Rex

            You are talking Pure nonsense, nothing you say is either true or proven.
            Gusev better defensivly? So your comparison is minimum wage Pirri but you want to swap him for the defensive centerman Eakin? Great argument.
            Check the statistics, Gusev is among the absolute worst players in the league so far, What part of that dont you understand? He got a Couple of pp points but that doesent change the fact that he sucks 5vs5 does it?
            Why do you think the Devils plays him 7 and 9 minutes on the forth line? Because he is to good to play more?
            He has gotten the chance to play 1st line, 2nd line and so on, playing with Hischier, Hughes and even MVP Taylor Hall but STILL SUCKS and now is at 7 minutes of ice time.
            This is ridiculous, my guess is you just talking and havent even watched the Devils games so far.

            ”Rather have Gusev for years to come”
            What are you drinking over there!?!?
            Can you imagine the DISASTER of having a 4 million plus player locked in long term that isnt good enough to play even 10 minutes for a team thats among the worst in the NHL!??

            I recommend you to go back and watch the Devils games so far this season, start from the beginning and then you can look at the stats. This is so ridiculous its feel like a flat earth conversation.

    • Brian Lawrence

      Probably going anyway at seasons end, one way or the other. Contract is up and I don’t think he’ll stay unless he gets a big $ contract

  2. Billy

    Just a question, are Golden Knights better through first ten this season due to Stone’s presence on team or adjustments to blue line?

  3. Rick Dames

    Jason…I don’t see any reason Cody Glass should be moved. He will more than fill his potential. Maybe I’m watching a different game. I watch him a lot without the puck. He is always circling around the net, creating chaos, being a screen, looking for rebounds, or if not circling the net he is in high-danger areas. His vision amazes me at times, how he’ll see a linemate and get the puck to him, sometimes anticipating where he’ll be. A great asset on the Power Play, and he is not a defensive liability at all – absolutely responsible.

    Maybe, I misread your statement, but he is not a trade deadline move – he is the long-term future of the offense on this team!

    Replying to your comment, moving a Center (other than Karlsson, Stastny or Glass) for a solid defensive defenseman that will also move the puck would be a fabulous change of assets!!

  4. THE hockey GOD

    No.9 is on third line, lines up on face offs like a winger, but he plays like a center. He’s all over the place, and rarely stays on his wing. It takes awhile for a “line” to mesh. no., 73 just joined the line. When no. 89 comes back, no. 73 sits. Yet another adjustment to the third line. Give it time, new lines take a while to come together. But there are likely more changes coming soon to the third line and more adjustment will be coming with it.

    • Can someone show me proof that “new lines take a while to come together”? I’m 2+ years of VGK hockey it’s either worked or it hasn’t. I’ve never need a statistical analysis to back up that claim.

      • THE hockey GOD

        it is a well known Hockey maxim, from the Production line, to the Espo line, to French connection line, GAG line, the Triple Crown line, etc etc . One or two games doesn’t make a line, It is known.

        • You may not have recognized this about me, but I’m not the type of person that just takes hockey maxims at face value. I want to see it in practice. Every line you mentioned was probably good when they were first put together

          • THE hockey GOD

            All these “lines” consisted of veterans, that knew how to play together because they played against each other many times- so they knew each other tendencies.

            It takes awhile for a good line to mesh.

            It’s very difficult for any rookie to come right into a line and mesh. Go back to your article on defense men and see how they talk about getting to know how the other half plays. It doesn’t have so much to with stats. It’s much more complicated when you add a third player and talk about three man line, and even more complicated when that third player is a rookie (not bashing anyone here). Then, WOW, you have the old Soviet style, they put together FIVE MAN units.

            Now let’s look at VEGAS lines and see how they mesh. I would make a case that only ONE line really “meshes”. The definition of “meshes” really comes into play here. That would be the first line. Why? Because 1) they have been together longer and players know each other tendencies (that doesn’t happen over night) and 2) they play beyond the ‘system’, 3) when the other team adjusts for the style of play, the first line has great ability to adapt and change style of play, 4) their skill set (be it passing, skating, speed, shooting, puck control, fore/back checking, screening the goalie, deflecting passes on net, etc) . How do you know it’s working ? This gets back to definition of “meshing” , I would make a case of , FIRST judging, to determine how many times a pass hits a player on their line’s stick in a row, or how many times they dump it in and a player on that line gets the puck. In other words, it boils down to puck control as first measure of line meshing. Puck control, with proper line management (numberered elements mentioned above) leading to high quality scoring chances.

            The no. 2 line play(s) more as individuals, and their skill level is what is getting them by, as well as the “system” that the team tries to execute. The no. 2 line needs a few more games together to get as good as line no. 1 in the “meshing’ department.

            The ‘system’ works, for now, because 1) there are a lot of teams in the league and 2) some of the other teams haven’t figured it out yet or do not match well against it. But playing a style/ or system is not same as a line meshing.

            The third line has a hard time playing the “system”, and they haven’t been together long enough to know where the line mates’ tendencies are (also as an aside, I believe 21 is not as fast as he was before his injury) .

            The 4th line only plays one way, regardless of the system-dump/bash/chase/grab/ bash/crash the net/poke check/bash/skate 1-2 bash, fore check/bash/crash the net/fore check/bash someone/grind/grind/grind/.

            The *system* that they play is evident, you see it every time they practice, and they try to execute it every game. As the season progresses the coaching staff will tinker with the system/ style of play.

  5. A.J.

    Comparing the Nikita Gusev situation to the Forsberg – Erat trade is absolutely absurd. I’ve watched a couple NJ games and Gusev, to this point, is hardly a factor. I understand that it’s not apples to apples, but his production in NJ would have him as our 8th producing FW, tied with Nosek. I hardly find that to be a top line piece. And to compare the situation to Forsberg – Erat, as if a trade for Cody Eakin has already factually manifested is an irrational statement. Sure, IF Gusev gets off the third or 4th line in NJ and produces as he does internationally and IF Cody Eakin gets traded and IF VGK gets far less for him then they could have previously and consequently not signed Gusev, THEN we can look back and speculate how much of a debacle the whole thing was. But to claim we are presently at that point, with all things considered as they stand, is far too presumptuous.

    • Rex

      What Gusev has Done this season so far we already get from Pirri, basicly nothing. That is okey as a fringe player around minimum wage as Pirri sits at 775000, Gusev is a disaster at 4.5 million so far, playing under 10 minutes a game now and are the second worst player in the league 5vs5.
      There isnt even room for a player like Gusev with the Knights even if he was got damn free. Tuch and Glass as the 4th player on each PP would make Gusev so useless that he wouldnt even be on the got damn roster.
      He is lost so far, thats the facts.

  6. DOC Williams

    Holy Cow! SLOW DOWN!!!! The 3rd line WILL be much more potent when Tuck gets back. Zykov basically useless and Peri is nothing but a “sniper”. Tuck is a 200 foot player who will gel great with Glass on other side & Eakin (who is a damn good scrappy player). What do you expect from a line that has different players every few games.

  7. Cathy McGowen

    Here’s hoping someone in the organization sees your breakdown exam of these lines. Fresh s always a good idea!!!☘

  8. Richard Evans

    Good thoughts…but from a long term prospective the third line has pretty much been a relative weakness of the VGK from day one.

    Of course this is not unusual in the NHL where the 4th line ends up being a grinding/sandpaper line…the top two lines being the talented scorers with the 3rd line being an awkward construct mirroring the depth of the franchise. Look around. 3rd lines almost always difficult and in a state of flux.

    And great fodder for rabid fans to argue over. Almost as good as the backup goalie.

  9. schmitty 88

    glass is playing solid tuch and schmitty get back the knights take off bisch had a solid first game

  10. THE hockey GOD

    G Anderson stated “Firstly, state tax doesn’t really mean shit in terms of contracts …saves $570,000 in tax money over its entire lifetime, or $71,250 per year”

    Don’t know what point is being made here, but “$570,000 or $71,250 a year . does mean a “lot of shit” to 1) people that don’t come close to making that much and 2) players whose careers are cut short , or are really short , in comparison to salaried individuals who work 30, 40 or 50 years at a job — pro athletes may be lucky to get 5, 10 years. So it is a lot of “shit”, so I disagree heartily with that comment in quotes. $570,000 can get most people a very nice home !!! (as well)

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