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Golden Knights deal former top pick to Predators

Updated July 17, 2021 - 6:22 pm

The Golden Knights moved on from former top draft pick Cody Glass, making a pair of trades Saturday in an effort to improve their center depth.

Glass was sent to Nashville as part of a three-team deal that brings former Philadelphia center Nolan Patrick to the Knights. Patrick was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, four spots ahead of Glass, and the move provides each with a change of scenery.

The Knights also acquired center Brett Howden from the New York Rangers for a 2022 fourth-round pick and minor league defenseman Nick DeSimone before all NHL rosters are frozen in anticipation of Seattle’s expansion draft Wednesday. The freeze lasts until 10 a.m. PDT Thursday.

“These are all players that I think are likely in a better spot today in terms of opportunity in front of them than they were yesterday,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “We think these players both have a lot of real positive things ahead, a lot of runway to work with as young players and players that we think are really going to contribute to our team.”

Patrick totaled four goals and nine points in 52 games last season after missing all of the 2019-20 season because of a migraine disorder that threatened his career. The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was coached by McCrimmon in juniors with Brandon of the Western Hockey League.

A restricted free agent, Patrick has 30 goals and 70 points in his first 197 career NHL games. If healthy, the 6-foot-2-inch, 198-pound Patrick can provide size and skill down the middle.

He joins a center depth chart that features Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson, Nicolas Roy, Keegan Kolesar and Howden. Tomas Nosek and Mattias Janmark are unrestricted free agents.

“I think if this was 12 months ago and you’re making that move on the heels of a season where (Patrick) never played a game, you’d have lengthier discussions and maybe greater concerns,” McCrimmon said. “I’m comfortable, confident, know this player well from having coached him. I watched him closely as an NHL player and again, you marry that insight with what our scouts see and what our projections are for the player. That’s what it took for us to be comfortable to make this move.”

Glass was the last of the Knights’ three first-round picks from 2017 still with the team but seemed to fall out of favor this season after he was unable to seize a full-time spot.

He underwent major knee surgery in March 2020 and bounced between the NHL and the minors this past season, recording four goals and 10 points in 27 games with the Knights.

Glass, 22, appeared in one postseason game in 2021 despite the Knights losing centers Stephenson and Nosek at various times in the playoffs. In 66 NHL games, Glass produced nine goals and 22 points.

During his end-of-the-season interview, coach Pete DeBoer seemed express his frustration with Glass’ slow development despite handing him the opportunity to skate on the first line and with the top power-play unit.

“This is a really good young player for a really good young player. There’s no more to it than that,” McCrimmon said. “This wasn’t a failing on Cody’s part, at all.”

Howden, 23, was a first-round pick by the Lightning in 2016 and was traded to the Rangers in 2018. He scored one goal and seven points in 42 games for New York this past season, averaging 12 minutes, 34 seconds of ice time.

The 6-3, 200-pound Howden was a valuable penalty killer and bottom-six role player, but was set to be exposed by the Rangers in the expansion draft.

“Sometimes this is where it goes for young players in the NHL,” McCrimmon said. “Opportunities that presented themselves for us here with expansion, with the trade freeze, it was our opportunity to be active and acquire two really good young players.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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