From the outset of camp it was clear that Chandler Stephenson was favored over Cody Glass for the position between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Glass started on the third line centering Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy.
Now it appears Glass has been dropped to the extra squad as of today’s skate. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Ben Gotz, Roy slides over to center Tuch and Tomas Nosek, who elevates to the wing from fourth line center. Keegan Kolesar fills the spot between William Carrier and Ryan Reaves on the fourth unit.
Also, with Glass’ $863k out of the lineup, Nicolas Hague is back in as the sixth defenseman. Hague’s AAV is roughly $792k so it appears the five defensemen experiment is over for now.
Honestly there’s not a huge reaction of surprise here because Glass hasn’t had much of an impact so far. Granted it’s early yet, and a lot of pressure on a young player trying to come back from a major injury. Glass didn’t make it back in time to join the team in the bubble last season, and has been off from game action for a long time. While it would have been nice to see him get right back to where he was, it appears that will take time. And for Vegas, they have the forward depth to handle that.
Kolesar moving into the middle of the fourth line is something I look forward to seeing. While he had a bit of a rough start to the season, Kolesar is now getting a chance to skate a regular turn and perhaps settle in more. Young players only get better with experience, and Kolesar will get more minutes in this setup.
I have to wonder if Glass is not dealing with some after-effects from his surgery and recovery, but perhaps he’s just having a rough start to the season. Either way, he’ll have some practice time to iron it out.
Power Play Changes
The power play units have also shuffled, with Tuch moving up to the first power play unit instead of Glass. Roy and Hague are now on the second power play unit. Vegas hasn’t scored a power play goal yet, but they’ve only generated two chances in two games. Obviously with Glass out there was going to be some shuffle, but the more concerning part is the fact that there simply hasn’t been much generated yet by the offense in terms of man advantages.
Generally, when a team takes defensive zone penalties it’s because the other team has an advantage that could generate a dangerous scoring chance. Quite frankly Vegas hasn’t generated as many dangerous scoring chances as one would expect as of yet. Yes, they did drop a five-spot on the Ducks Thursday, but Saturday the scoring didn’t ignite until desperation set in.
Again, it’s early in the season. I’m willing to give everyone a pass for the first few games as they get it going. But if that trend continues, it will be deeply concerning.