The first NHL Draft selection in Vegas Golden Knights history is officially under contract.
Portland Winterhawks forward Cody Glass, 18, was taken sixth overall at the 2017 NHL Draft – the very first draft choice of the expansion Golden Knights – and on Saturday, he inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the club.
“Couldn’t be more excited to sign with @GoldenKnights,” Glass tweeted. “Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way! @TheHockeyAgency @pdxwinterhawks”
The 6-foot-2, 178-pound product of Winnipeg exploded during the 2016-17 Western Hockey League campaign – his second in Oregon with the Winterhawks. Through 69 games, the creative playmaker tallied 32 goals and added 62 assists for a career-high 94 points, leading the Winterhawks in scoring and earning recognition on the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team.
After helping Portland execute a first-round upset of the Prince George Cougars, the Winterhawks bowed out in the second round of the 2017 WHL Playoffs. At that point, Glass was summoned by Team Canada to represent his nation at the 2017 U-18 World Championship in Slovakia, where he collected three points (2G-1A) in three games as a late addition to the roster.
— Cody Glass (@GlassCody12) July 15, 2017
The Golden Knights also announced the signing of two other first-round selections – forward Nick Suzuki (13th overall) and defenceman Erik Brannstrom (15th overall).
“This is an exciting announcement for the Golden Knights organization as we signed three of our top prospects,” said George McPhee, general manager of the Golden Knights. “Cody, Nick and Erik have demonstrated exceptional skill and hockey sense playing at their current levels. We will look for these players to continue to exhibit the hard work necessary to further their development and continue their positive career trajectories.”
While Glass is the answer to one big trivia question in the infancy of the Vegas Golden Knights time as the NHL’s 31st franchise, he joins a former WHL player who also holds bragging rights within the world of Golden Knights trivia. Forward Reid Duke, who spent five years in the WHL and graduated as a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings, was the first player to sign a contract with the Golden Knights after putting pen to paper on a three-year, entry-level contract back in March.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 23, 2017
Beyond Glass and Duke, the Vegas organizational chart is loaded with WHL-developed talent, including Cody Eakin (Kootenay ICE, Swift Current Broncos), Brendan Leipsic (Portland Winterhawks), Deryk Engelland (Moose Jaw Warriors), Brayden McNabb (Kootenay ICE), Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings), Luca Sbisa (Portland Winterhawks, Lethbridge Hurricanes), Clayton Stoner (Tri-City Americans), Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds) and Calvin Pickard (Seattle Thunderbirds).
Including Glass, the Golden Knights called two WHL names at the 2017 NHL Draft, the other being Jake Leschyshyn of the Regina Pats.
The Vegas front office is full of WHL flavor as well. Assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon is the former head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, senior vice president Murray Craven played four seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, pro scout Kelly Kisio is the former head coach and general manager of the Calgary Hitmen, amateur scout Bruno Campese is the former head coach and general manager of the Prince Albert Raiders and recently-named assistant coach Ryan McGill is the former head coach of the Kootenay ICE.