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How Often Do Top 10 Picks See 3rd Season With AHL Appearance?

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As the 6th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and the first player ever drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights, Cody Glass was instantly thrust into the spotlight.

That light got even brighter after the other two first round selections by the Golden Knights were each traded in separate deals netting Vegas Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Glass was the only one left and with the success the team was having on the ice, he’s long represented the only real blue-chip prospect in the Vegas system.

The Golden Knights were purposely patient with Glass. He played his 20-year-old season in the WHL. Since, he’s spent the majority of time in the NHL, but a pair of recent demotions to the minors leaves his spot on the roster for this playoff run in question. This current trip to the AHL marks the third consecutive season the #6 overall pick has played in the minor leagues, which had me wondering, is this common?

To try and help answer that question, I went through every Top 10 selection from the 10 drafts prior to when Glass was picked. I wanted to see how many players played in the AHL at all, how many have made multiple trips back after reaching the NHL, and how many remained with their original team after a third stint in the AHL.

We’ll start with the likelihood a Top 10 pick plays in the AHL at all. Of the 100 players selected in the Top 10 between 2007 and 2016, 39 went straight to the NHL from their junior, college, or European teams while 61 saw AHL action. Of the 39, 26 of them were selected in the Top 5. So, that means 37 of the 50 players selected from picks #6 to #10 played in the AHL at some point.

Glass got his first AHL action late in 2019 (year 2 following his draft), when he joined the Wolves for a playoff run to the Calder Cup Final. This is a very common path of the 61 players that spent at least some time in the AHL. Going back at some point is not all that uncommon either, 41 of the 61 players saw a second stint (in a different season) in the AHL. It’s the third trip that separates Glass from many of his Top 10 peers. Just 17 of the 100 players have seen AHL action in three separate seasons, which Glass now has.

The list of those players is not exactly flattering either. The best of the bunch are Nazem Kadri, Brayden Schenn, and Kyle Turris. The mid-tier group includes Jake Virtanen, Michael Dal Colle, and Haydn Fleury. The rest are scary names when connected with Glass. Griffin Reinhart (4th overall), Nikita Filatov (6th overall), Zach Hamill (8th overall), Jared Cowen (9th overall), and Keaton Ellerby (10th overall) are a few.

A third trip still doesn’t truly have history going against Glass in regards to becoming a good to great player as Kadri, Schenn, and Turris are all solid. It does though if the expectation is that he does it with the Golden Knights. Of the 17 players to make at least three appearances in the AHL, 12 of them were traded within five years of their first professional season, which is by the end of next season for Glass.

The five that weren’t are Kadri, Dal Colle, Virtanen, Fleury, and Hamill. Fleury was just traded at this deadline, Kadri was sent out of Toronto ahead of last season, and Hamill has been playing overseas since 2013. Both Dal Colle and Virtanen remain on the team that drafted them, but neither play a massive role on the roster.

All in all, what I’ve taken away from this is Cody Glass is going to have to be an anomaly if he’s going to become the player everyone expected him to be and do it with the Golden Knights. In the past 10 years, his situation simply does not exist for players that go on to be elite.

The Golden Knights do have a habit of pulling off feats no other team has though. So, I’m not ready to give up, but history unquestionably offers a warning sign.

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54 Comments

  1. Bent Hermit

    He has always been a play maker in every league he has played. It might not develop for him in the NHL. The speed of the game seems to be the main reason he is not the play maker he was in other leagues. He might be able to adjust to the speed over time or he might not. What he does have going for himself is he can find the puck and use his skill to score in front of the net. Unfortunately this means that he will have to rethink how he plays 5 on 5. So far he has not shown any consistent efforts to be the kind of player that wants to play in front of the net. If he wants to be a consistent NHLer he needs become that guy that fights for the front of the net. Over time he might adjust to the speed and become the play maker he was but if it doesn’t he would still be a valuable player in front of the net.

  2. Howard

    Cody will not really make it in The NHL. The reason why is because he is too slight of build for a top center, and putting on weight just slowed him down and affected his stamina.

    He’s not a particularly good stick or staker, and his backcheck pretty much sucks.

    However, converting him to full time wing may, MAY see him have success in The NHL.

    At best, Cody should have been a mid 2nd round pick.

    Bad pick by VGK here and in every sport, front offices make mistakes with high draft choices. It’s more common in Baseball and NBA though than it is in Hockey.

  3. Rabbit

    If I was in his shoes, I might seriously consider steroids (or other PEDs) if I thought there was a good chance I could get away with it. Sounds like a joke, but I think situations like this where a guys entire career (and entire life path) might be on the line that lead to making those kind of decisions.

    It’s like he is right on the edge of a breakthrough but just needs a little extra something to get going.

  4. Jake

    George McPhee and Vegas have been slow to bring up talent.

    If Vegas was a terrible team, Glass would have more games.

    I think the AHL might help with his biggest weakness, confidence.

    Some players are late bloomers and slower to develop.

    I am hopeful. If Joe Biden can be president, Glass can be a very good NHL player.

    • Yeah if trump could be president while literally shitting in diapers and having aides change them then he can totally be a good player.

      • THE hockey GOD

        “Yeah if trump could be president while literally shitting in diapers and having aides change them then he can totally be a good player.”

        “I am hopeful. If Joe Biden can be president, Glass can be a very good NHL player.”

        Biden is more like p-Resident and PINO (pResident in name only), God only know who is really running the nation. And PINO is one with the ‘depends’ problem not Trump. Don’t need a scorecard to keep these two separated.

      • Daryl

        This comment makes absolutely no sense. It’s a pathetic attempt to attack trump and compare it to hockey. But good try…. OK not really

      • You have to be one very stupid and bad human being.

  5. Daryl

    I have a question not related to the article but related to talent in the system. As most on here know, I have a HUGE Engelland fan. He quickly became my favorite player when he was with the Pens. As someone who played defense myself, I was very physical and loved the defensive side of the game. As for offense you wouldn’t get much from me. Maybe that is why my favorite players have almost always been defensive players in any sport (minus Dan Marino). Defensive players who don’t help out much in the offensive zone very seldom get much credit for anything.

    With that being said, is there anyone in the VGK system that plays that style of hockey? A strong defensive player who doesn’t mind sacrificing his body, likes to hit, doesn’t mind fighting and is willing to keep players off the goalie? I know hockey is moving toward the fast players and offensive players but I’m always hoping there will be a place for my type of players.

    Whitecloud is quickly becoming my favorite VGK player. He’s not exactly like Engo but he will throw his body around and plays good defense, just wish he would be more physical along the boards and in front of the crease. I don’t see him being much of a fighter, but thanks to Bettman, fighting is becoming a lost art

    • McNabb is the closest on the NHL team. Carl Dahlstrom is the closest in the AHL. They really don’t have any prospects that play that way.

  6. Bent Hermit

    McNabb would be the closest to a old school defensive Dman, minus the fighting. The way he throws that hip check definitely reminds me of the old Dmen. You just don’t see players that are able to do it anymore. The game is getting away from guys like Tamer and Leroux.

  7. Herby

    Like the article. Like Glass.
    But there is only one conclusion:
    Trade Glass as long as he still have some value.
    Better for him and better for the organization.

    We have our 3rd line center in Nosek. Now that he can finally play with
    with some skilled players and does not have to play on the wing, he shows
    his potential. He will only become better and better. Stephenson 2.0

    • Bent Hermit

      I would not be surprised to see Glass traded before the expansion draft. He has value because he would still be exempt from the draft. I could also see a trade with Philly, Glass for Nolan. They both get a change in scenery.

      • David

        I was thinking the same thing as chatter at the deadline about Nolan picked up.

      • THE hockey GOD

        good point ! maybe a change of scenery will help both players, Glass made a really dumb penalty in last nite’s game. Frustration starting to show a bit.

    • sb

      Regarding Nosek, it looks good for him to be on that third line. The major concern I have about him and Janmark is can MGT find the money to pay these two next season? VGK aren’t paying Janmark’s salary this season. Nosek gets $1 mil, but that’s sure to go up. Gotta find a way to jettison Reaves and Holden’s combined $3.5 mil hits. Cap money is so scarce. Gotta stop paying one dimensional palookas who can only score one goal every 50 games. How many times will the Knights get bounced in the Playoffs due to zero secondary scoring?

  8. Pistol Pete

    Ken, your stats on high round picks and trips to the AHL are interesting, however where Glass currently stands out in the pool is how few games he has played in the AHL: only 9 regular season and 22 playoff. I’m just not sure how relevant it is how high a draft pick one is in examining the factor of time spent in the AHL and how much AHL time before the final transition to the NHL occurs. Take Patchy for example. He was drafted in the first round 22nd overall and went from one year of NCAA to 37 games in then AHL, moving up and finishing the season with 34 games for the Canadiens. Plays 52 games in the NHL next season before being moved back down for the last 18 games. Plays first 27 games of the following season in the AHL before being moved back up for good. 82 AHL regular season AHL games plus 5 playoff (73 pts including playoff). Marchy did like four seasons in the AHL. The real proof in comparing Glass to anybody else will be if he produces over a larger sample in the AHL and moves up from there. While it’s curious, just not sure how predictive the high draft pick bust out factor is across the prospect pool.

    • Engo’s #1 Fan

      I too am a huge Engo fan and wish there were more defensive men like him. There was nothing better than watching him push someone into the boards and give them the business in the way hockey was made to be played. He is definitely part of dying breed…

  9. A Fan

    I agree with those who think we should trade Glass now. I doubt his value is what it once was though. I just don’t see him ever becoming elite as was hoped.

    • Pistol Pete

      Hard to define elite. Is all the VGK second line elite? Is Stephenson elite? When Glass played his first NHL games, VGK announcers talked about his two way game. Not sure what became of that.

    • Knew it

      This is what I said!!!! After his injury, I was doubtful if he would ever live up to expectations.

      Once I saw Suzuki tearing it up on Montréal I knew we should have traded Glass instead of Suzuki for Patches….

      Imagine Suzuki on the VKG now ;_;

  10. Pistol Pete

    Glass needs to start the 2021-2022 season with the Silver Knights and produce like close to a point a game for at least 30 games. I agree with Howard the extra bulk (may have) slowed him down, at least for the time being. There is plenty of NHL type competition in the AHL. Glass must know what he needs to do, he’s a smart guy, it will just take some extra time. He may bust out or he may become a full time NHL player. It may not happen with VGK especially with Krebs, Elevenes and Dugan in the pool.

    • sb

      A major mistake with Glass was so many touting him to be a first line center with Stone/Pac. That prediction was CRAZY. He had accomplished nothing in the NHL to merit being on the fourth line let alone be the Number 1 center. Crazy expectations set him up for a big fall with the fans and critics. Gotta move out one dimensional players like Reaves and Kolesar and make room for Glass to be a reserve and fourth line player. I wouldn’t give up on him so soon. He’s just slotted in incorrectly. He’s got talent. He needs to be a reserve fighting for fourth line time. Expectations are too high.

  11. jbkrmd

    He lost a large amount of playing time over the last two years to significant knee injuries and rehabilitation. Doesn’t anyone think that factors into his slower development and timeline to becoming a factor in the NHL?

    • Pistol Pete

      Yes definitely the injuries and as Howard pointed out the extra bulk which was like 25 lb. As I am saying, he needs to join the majority of many, many NHL players who did upwards of 100 AHL games and far more in some cases. The Connor McDavids and Auston Mathews’ are few and far between. Most need significant AHL time to make the transition.

      • Few and far between is horribly inaccurate. I’ll admit, I thought the same before I did this research. 39 of the 100 went directly to the NHL without ever playing an AHL game. Only 9 of the 100 played more than 100 AHL games.

        The path of sticking it out in the AHL is common for later round picks, it is not for Top 10 or #6.

        • Pistol Pete

          Yeah, you’ve uncovered an interesting phenomena. Nice work. Let’s hope Glass becomes an anomaly to it. I realize it seems some like that may not happen.

          • Just to explain my line of thinking. When I hear something like “this is a common path for a player” or “it’s rare to see…” I always want to verify it. In this case, I just didn’t remember many Top 10 picks that have gone back time and time again. The research definitely bore that out.

        • Pistol Pete

          Wasn’t the 2019-2020 two game late stage of the season return to the AHL a return from injury? If so maybe that one can be discounted. The 2020-2021 one is definitely performance related.

  12. Pistol Pete

    AHL games (including playoffs) for the 2nd line:

    Marchessault: 315
    Karlsson: 67
    Smith: 52

    AHL games (including playoffs):

    Glass: 32 (22 playoffs)

  13. Pistol Pete

    Chandler Stephenson did 207 games in the AHL including playoffs. Sent back down twice.

  14. Tim

    Trading Glass while he still has some value is silly. Define some value. He may not be fast he may have to pull his head out of his ass and have a reality check but trade him NO. I would definitely give him the rest of the AHL season, then summer and camp to see where he’s at. If he’s not ready back to the AHL for the 2022 season. If all that doesn’t work take him to the bus station with a one way ticket to the great white north.

  15. You have to take into consideration that most teams who pick players I the first 10 picks are not as talented as the knights were and are now. It’s a tougher line up to break into.

    • Nic Roy, Tomas Nosek, William Carrier, Ryan Reaves, Keegan Kolesar.

      I understand that the Golden Knights are good, but let’s not act like a 6th overall pick shouldn’t be able to beat out all these players.

      • Mark

        That’s a bit rough !! All those guys have roles to play. I don’t ever want to be pushed around, bullied by any teams, never. I would never pay for an expensive seat and watch our guys get intimidated, a few of those guys prevent that. But, your point is taken, but I feel comfortable knowing nobody can push us around !!

  16. David

    The worrisome part is his self acknowledged lack of confidence. Success on sports is largely mental. Confidence, bordering on arrogance, is often a good thing.
    Him seeing a psychologist about it is a bit of a red flag. If we get any meaningful contribution from him in the future, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
    But for now, bust city.

    • Bent Hermit

      Seeing a psychologist is not a red flag it can help a lot. Fleury saw 1 after he had a couple of really bad playoff years. Then had back to back cups and acup final.

      • Howard

        You miss one very important point; Fleury was an established all-star goalie when he sought some mental guidance, Cody isn’t.

        Honestly, anyone who knows the slightest bit about The NHL can see Cody is absolutely overwhelmed by The NHL game. His skating isn’t up to par, he’s frequently off-balance, easily pushed off the puck by the physicality of The NHL game.

        Perhaps he can make it as a 4th line winger?

        Ken’s whole point is how high a draft pick like this being demoted to The AHL in most cases doesn’t bode well for him in terms of ever being a top 6 forward. Again, Cody might be able to find a place in The NHL, but if you think that place will see him as a top 6 forward, with all due respect, you don’t know the NHL very well.

    • Howard

      He lacks confidence because honestly, he’s not an NHL quality player right now. How would confidence help his poor skating and mediocre stick?

      Sometimes front offices in all of sports make bad draft choices, Cody IMO is clearly one of them. The NHL is too fast and too rough for him. Even with the extra weight, he still looks overly frail and weak. Many times when he’s hit, he takes a lot of extra times to recover. IMO, he’s just not NHL high talent and as I mentioned, IMO VGK made a big error in this pick.

      If an NHL player needs to see a shrink for confidence on ice problems, he’s cooked already.

  17. Bent Hermit

    Wow. This conversation is over.

  18. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    With back to back games (today & tomorrow) … I expect to see a much different game today than Friday.

    I think Knights win a much closer game.

    Got to keep getting points, to make that series with Avs later in month, mean something.

  19. Mike StG

    Ken, There was another factor you didn’t address. Cody was very young when drafted, which would be a primary reason he didn’t turn pro immediately. As mentioned by others, his injuries in junior & both pro leagues have also slowed his development. That said, I now agree with your early assessment that he’s probably going to be a 4th liner, or at best 3rd. They’ll probably have to get an elite center the old fashioned way – to be a lottery team. But I don’t see that happening in the next 3 or 4 years. An elite UFA center would cost 9-10mil and they would overpay. For now it appears they have found a way around it. The Karlsson line is fine. And the Stone line has highly skilled playmaking wingers that maximize Chandler’s speed and skill. Hopefully Janmark is the piece they needed to make the 3rd line a legit threat and take some pressure off the Top 6 to carry scoring.

    • Not the best excuse for me. He’s not the youngest of the Top 10 picks and he’s at worst 6 months younger than most of the rest of the players.

      • Mike StG

        Not an excuse, considering how McPhee likes to cook prospects. Just a valid reason he didn’t go directly into the NHL. His stock among scouts rose a lot just before the draft and I wonder how much that influenced their pick. I also think his lack of swagger and confidence will hold him back, and it reflects in his play. Good article and analysis.

  20. THE hockey GOD

    the only anomaly I see here is one that the rest of analysis did not consider and that is the ChiCom Wuhan Bat / Rat Lab World Wide Bio Hazard** which clearly impacted Glass’s development.

    On other hand despite putting up assists in AHL recently I still wasn’t impressed with his overall play. Seems to floating around the ice a lot.

    He needs to develop his “style of play” , niche, strong point. Maybe he can become a Mark Stone type of player in long run. If that is case he will need to start playing with a longer stick so he can poke check players off the puck more.

    ** some say it was a purposely released bioweapon , much debate still ongoing about that.

  21. SBC

    Ken, did you ever get the sense that Glass was available before the last deadline? Separately, is there a cutoff time for him to be on the roster for the playoffs, once payroll isn’t a factor?

  22. Hard Knock Life

    IMO the knee injury was a serious setback and accounts for almost 2 years of his time… With that said it depends on Cody as to whether he digs deep to come back stronger and improve his skating and speed or uses the injury as the excuse for not reaching his potential?
    I hope he digs in, but I don’t know if he is wired to do so?
    He needs a Brian Piccolo to push him or at least watch the old classic Brian’s Song.

  23. Any update on Peyton Krebs?

    • He’s been playing great in the WHL. He’ll likely head back down to the AHL at the end of the month and then we’ll see if he can break his way in to the NHL team before the year is out.

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