When the Portland Winterhawks’ season ended in the WHL playoffs the other night, fans of the Vegas Golden Knights knew what would come next. Vegas has reassigned junior forward Cody Glass to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves to continue his season as the team takes a close look at how their top prospect competes at the pro level. Glass has his sights set on an NHL roster spot next season, but for now he’ll look to continue his outstanding junior season with the playoff-bound Wolves.
Glass, 20, was the first draft pick in Golden Knights history, selected No. 6 overall in 2017. Arguably the best 200-foot center prospect in all of hockey, Glass is an elite offensive talent, armed with next-level vision and quickness, but also possesses a responsible, two-way game. In 2017-18, Glass notched an incredible 102 points in 64 games and added another 13 points in a dozen playoff games. While injuries limited him to just 38 games this season, Glass was even more productive, recording 69 points in 38 games, a clip of nearly two points per game that led the WHL. While the Winterhawks captain wasn’t able to do enough to advance his team further into the postseason, Glass could be an immediate difference-maker for the Wolves in his first AHL action.
Vegas was not alone in moving an intriguing junior prospect to the pro level. In fact, the Vancouver Canucks have added not one but two talented defensemen to the roster of the AHL’s Utica Comets, the team announced. Jett Woo of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Mitch Eliot of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting are both AHL-bound after their teams exited the postseason. Woo and Eliot each signed their entry-level contracts with Vancouver this season and are getting their first taste of the pro game. Woo, 18, is looking like a steal by the Canucks as a second-round pick last year after he exploded for 66 points in 62 games this season. That dimension of his game had previously been seen as limited, but Woo obviously has taken a big step in his development and it will be interesting if can continue to produce in the AHL. As for Eliot, he earned an NHL contract after first proving his offensive ability. Eliot struggled greatly for two years at Michigan State University before leaving for the OHL, but found his game this season in Sarnia with 55 points in 66 games. Eliot has some work left to do on his game, but he did enough early on for Vancouver to make an ELC offer in December and the 21-year-old will now have time to develop in Utica moving forward.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a similar junior reassignment, moving forward Semyon Der-Arguchintsev from the OHL’s Peterborough Petes to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. SDA, a third-round pick last year, is an undeniably skilled forward who continues to struggle with consistency and complete play. While he had yet another solid junior campaign, recording 46 points in 62 games, his goals dropped off by 50% and he finished just sixth on the team in scoring. He also had defensive issues yet again this season. SDA may be a player who benefits more in his development from being a role player in the AHL rather than continuing to play in the OHL. The Leafs can gauge that decision better after the talented Russian joins the Marlies.
Vancouver made yet another move today, as Cornell University’s Mitchell Vanderlaan was added to the Comets roster on an amateur tryout offer. Vanderlaan, a four-year starter for the Big Red, enjoyed his best season to date as a senior with 30 points in 36 games. Vanderlaan is significantly undersized at 5’7″ and 179 lbs., but that hasn’t stopped him from playing a well-rounded game. If he can hold his own in this brief AHL stint, he could be in line for a contract in Utica next season. Another college standout signing an ATO is Quinnipiac University’s Craig Martin. A solid, two-way forward, Martin registered 30 points in 38 games in his final college season, establishing himself as a prospect with pro ambitions after three up-and-down seasons prior. It has at least earned him a look, as Martin has joined the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, the affiliate of the Florida Panthers. A strong performance will surely earn him a longer look next season.