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Why I’m In Favor Of Scratching Cody Glass To Save Keegan Kolesar From Waivers

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It should have happened for the first two games. Now it’s happening tonight.

I’m talking about the decision to send Cody Glass to the AHL/taxi squad, and thus take him out of the lineup, inserting Nic Hague into the defense, and keeping Keegan Kolesar on the active roster and away from waivers.

Due to the massive offseason move of signing Alex Pietrangelo, the Golden Knights spent every day between the moment they lost to the Stars to Opening Night 2021 over the cap. We knew some “salary cap gymnastics” were going to be necessary to make the team compliant before the first game against the Ducks.

They came on the final day of Training Camp. The Golden Knights waived Nick Holden, risking losing him to another team for nothing, then released a peculiar looking roster of 13 forwards, five defensemen, and two goalies. Vegas went on to play two games voluntarily down a defenseman and pulled out a pair of wins to start the season.

Admittedly, the Golden Knights were not in love with the idea of playing short a d-man, but their willingness to do it proved they believed it was necessary.

Why? While we don’t have an answer to that question on the record, we have a pretty good educated guess. That guess is that the Golden Knights have knowledge that if they placed Keegan Kolesar on waivers he would get claimed by another team.

How do they know this? Again, another educated guess, but GM’s talk to each other often, and the Golden Knights were probably one of the most active teams this offseason trying to maneuver their roster after signing Pietrangelo. Somewhere in one of those conversations, there was likely a clue that another team coveted Kolesar. If someone’s willing to trade for a 23-year-old forward with limited NHL experience and a league minimum contract, they’ll certainly be willing to scoop him up for free if he hits waivers.

So, the Golden Knights avoided it. Now, two games in, they are still trying to avoid it, but the options remain limited.

They could continue with five defensemen, but through two games, the Golden Knights have the two league leaders in average time on ice per game and all five defensemen rank in the top 15 across the entire NHL. For now, that’s fine, but over the course of an entire season (especially one that is as tightly packed as this one), that’s not a viable long-term option.

Or, the Golden Knights could take a forward out of the lineup in order to insert the sixth defenseman in. Of the 20 guys who played in both games so far, there is just one player who is waiver exempt. That player is Cody Glass. (For those who don’t know, that means the Golden Knights can take him off the active roster without risking losing him. Anyone else, they’d have to risk losing that player like they did Nick Holden.)

So, to sum it up, the Golden Knights were left with these three options.

  1. Waive Kolesar
  2. Continue playing with five defensemen
  3. Swap Hague for Glass

They are going with #3 and in my opinion, it’s the correct option. In fact, I believe it was the correct option from the beginning, but better late than never.

No matter how you view Kolesar, losing him for nothing does the Golden Knights absolutely no good. Sure, he’s played in a limited role and hasn’t exactly excelled in it, but it’s definitely not enough to write him off for the rest of his career. The Golden Knights invested a 2nd round pick via trade in Kolesar and they’ve believed in him ever since. Giving up on him now makes little sense, especially when you consider the small price to pay to avoid it.

The Golden Knights would be better off with Glass in the lineup tonight than Kolesar. But, missing him tonight will probably not have much effect on the game nor will it have any effect on his long-term development in the NHL.

In 2017-18, the Golden Knights used this same strategy with both Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore. They sent each down to the AHL in order to protect Jason Garrison and Griffin Reinhart. In retrosepect, we know neither player would go on to make an impact for the Golden Knights, while the two guys they sent away have. But, looking back, did missing Tuch and Theodore for a few games make any difference at all?

This is a long-term decision that will hinder the team in an incredibly small way in the short-term. It’s a risk-reward driven move and the risk massively outweighs the reward. Missing Cody Glass for a game, or two, or ten pales in comparison to losing a prospect forever, and for that reason, the Golden Knights are making the right decision for future, even if it looks a little odd in the present.

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33 Comments

  1. Mike StG

    If CBJ was one of those teams maybe Vegas can package a deal with Kolesar and Tuch for PLD. I’d even consider Glass & Tuch at this point. DuBois is a true #1 center. Vegas has plenty of good wingers in development and Tuch won’t get into the top 6 at RW for at least 2 years.

    • Jason A

      Seeing as CGJ traded Kolesar to VGK, something tells me they aren’t too interested in having him back.

  2. sb

    VGK won’t miss Glass at all. Outside of a couple good games he had last season with Stone and Pac, this guy is lost at the NHL level. Lost. Zero impact shift after shift. In fact, besides Tuch and Nosek, the third and fourth line players are contributing nothing. Roy, Reaves, Carrier, Glass …… zero contribution. Two problems: Tuch needs a center and a winger – that center should be Stevenson. Pac and Stone need a first rate playmaking center to seroius contend for the Cup.

  3. Mike StG

    Jason A – Didn’t know that. Point taken. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Glass & Tuch for PLD. Cap hit about equal. CBJ has plenty of center depth and will lose PLD regardless. Tuch could be top 6 immediately in CBJ lineup. Vegas has plenty of depth at wing and several prospects ready for NHL.

    • Eddie P

      Mike, you can’t trade 2 players for one and say the cap hit is equal. Now we are short ANOTHER player, and still in the exact same cap predicament.

      • Mike StG

        Eddie – the cap hit for Tuch and Glass is about 5mil, which is roughly the same as PLD’s cap hit. If they could make the deal they’d make the cap work. “Cap predicament” isn’t the issue, it’s their lack of another true top 6 center.

  4. Tim

    Ken your article makes complete sense. To give Kolesar away would be foolish. Now Ken explain this if at anytime this year we can’t just send Kolesar to the taxi squad or Silver Knights without putting him on waivers first? If that’s the case were stuck with him for better or worse.

    • There is no time they can send Kolesar away without him clearing waivers.

      • Tim

        Ken thanks one last question on Kolesar. If we never brought him up to the Golden Knights and just let him play for the Silver Knights would he still have had to clear waivers? Thanks for all your responses.

        • Doesn’t work that way. Everyone starts on the NHL roster. So they waived everyone else (except for the young guys that are exempt.) They weren’t willing with him.

  5. And as l noticed even Carp questions the 8.8 million defenseman. Mgt has boxed themselves into a corner. Watch what happens when Fluery shines and the elite walrus has a couple of games where he is out of position on his knees and unable to respond like he demonstrated in the opener.

  6. David

    I think they’ll be moving Martinez ASAP. We have the depth to overcome it. Especially with how good Whitecloud continues to look.

    • Mike StG

      David – that makes no sense. They’re ok capwise unless they pursue another center like Pierre Luc Dubois (CBJ). In that case CBJ or anyone else wouldn’t be interested in Alec’s $4m contract that expires this season. They would want a young NHL player with big upside potential. Tuch would fit – $4.75m cap hit – even better capwise. Plus Martinez and Shea have become really solid pair, allowing Shea to activate in the offense.

      • David

        I wouldn’t call a choice between 5 dmen or keeping Glass off the team, “okay, capwise”.
        Eventually the team will have to make a decision between potentially losing Koelesar to waivers or a trade.
        Our depth on defense is all of a sudden really good. If they don’t have a plan to resign Martinez, they can get something in return. And open up room for a deadline acquisition if needed.
        So I think it makes some sense.

        • Mike StG

          I think if they upgrade at center it probably needs to be sooner than TD. Problem with trading Martinez now, besides how it would affect Shea’s game, is who would pay 4m with no term? Look what solid Ds are signing for now – Hamonic, Vatanen, Greene, Braun, Bear, Ben Hutton – all 1-2m. Don’t see a market for that trade.

      • David

        I’m all for a PLD trade for Tuch and Glass, btw.

    • Daryl

      Whitecloud has looked very good, but he’s also had an experienced player along side him who has helped cover up some of his mistakes. You get rid of Martinez and now you HAVE to put Whitecloud along side another “rookie” and that scares the hell out of me. I love Whitecloud and think he will evolve into a 2nd pairing defenseman but he’s too young and inexperienced to play too much next to another inexperienced player. What worries me even more is whoever that other rookie is, he won’t have someone there to bail him out

  7. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Wow! The Knights have only played TWO games. Why can’t we wait until we see how this group pans out? Again, a couple slamming Lehner! WHY? A REAL Knights fan is going to support the players, especially after just two games! I have no thought on the Petro signing. But, ya got to give the guy a chance to settle in with the other guys. Here we are 2-0, and yet all the negativity already. I just don’t understand why!

    • Because the goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Not to beat the Anaheim Ducks in January.

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        What’s that got to do with negativity and bitching, two games in? Pls explain Ken, so I can understand!

        • Problems now can lead to problems later.

          Remember when everyone said it was too early for me to write that there was going to be goalie controversy. Then when I was too early to say Fleury lost his job.

          Or when I said the Shippy situation was a mess. Or when I said trading for Reaves and Tatar was a bad idea.

  8. Tim

    The way it looks to me Whitecloud has passed the test. Next up with whom DeBoer had praise for were Hague and Coghlan so those 3 plus Petro and Theadore gives us a nice blue line for the foreseeable future. With Martinez leaving after this year we should still be in good shape. I think McNabb also has a couple of years left on his contract. Then we have this Korzack kid who played in the World Juniors waiting in the wings so life is good on the blue line now we need a legitimate center or two.

    • Mike StG

      PLD for Tuch and a prospect or 1st. Elite center.

    • Daryl

      Whitecloud has definitely passed the test, but lets remember he had Holden (as bad as I think he is) to help cover up some of his mistakes. Whitecloud is still making rookie mistakes, which is expected. Problem they run into is with Hague or Coghlan, they won’t have an experienced player to help cover up their mistakes. Whitecloud isn’t good enough to cover for those guys. You put two very young and inexperienced players next to each other, it will cost VGK several games.

  9. Mark

    Give Kelesar ice time, its that simple for God’s sake. He’s big, he strong and he’s fast. It really hard to see what he has when getting reps here and their, take a shot, sometimes the cream rises to the top. This isn’t rocket science. The worst thing to do is play this half assed, act befuddled, wishy washy then never really answer the question. He’s 23, either he’s got the goods or not !!

  10. DOC (sanity returns Jan 20th)

    Tell ya what, keep bitching and moaning, as the Knights keep WINNING! (That’s the point is it not)? Now 3-0.

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