When it comes to Dallas Stars prospect Scott Glennie, things seem to move two steps forward, but then one step back.
Drafted unexpectedly high by the Stars at 8th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Glennie has had a very interesting, tumultuous ride since then.
Combining excellent mobility, quick hands, and impressive offensive instincts, Glennie was a dangerous forward during his junior days with the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings, scoring 308 points over the span of 252 games.
Yet, despite his numbers, Glennie always seemed to perform just a peg or two below what was expected out of him as a Top 10 draft pick. He was always good, but rarely was he able to single-handedly dominate games. He was never the leading scorer on the Wheat Kings, and failed to make the prestigious World Junior Championship roster for his native Team Canada. Even though he had no control over where and when he was drafted, those expectations are usually an impossible thing to shake.
Things appeared to be turning around, however, once Glennie turned pro and joined the AHL's Texas Stars at the start of 2011. Under the lax coaching style of former bench boss Jeff Pyle the Stars were allowed to freewheel offensively and Glennie found his groove as a first-year pro, potting a very respectable 37 points in 70 games, good enough for fifth on the team.
Just as importantly, he made his Dallas Stars debut that year, suiting up for the final game of the regular season versus the St Louis Blues. Even though he failed to register a point in that game, the call-up alone was a clear message that the Stars were happy with what Glennie achieved that year, and that he was still held in high regard within the organization.
Things seemed to be looking up. The future looked bright.
But then, something happened last season.
The Texas Stars, under the new tutelage of Willie Desjardins, started their first seven games of the season without Glennie, even though the young right wing had played for the team during the preseason. The team remained quite tight-lipped about Glennie's lack of play until Les Jackson eventually broke the ice, somewhat, briefly saying that a nagging injury and some issues with regards to conditioning were the reasons why he was kept out.
The relationship between Glennie and Desjardins appeared to have gotten off to a rocky start, as not only did the veteran coach bench the young forward to start the season, he only gave him 4th line minutes once inserted into the lineup. Desjardins is a tough coach, but rewards hard work out of his players, and likely wouldn't have limited Glennie's ice time so significantly if his effort level was on par with the rest of the team at the time.
Glennie kept working, battling during games and eventually even getting some time on the team's first line, but any progress he was making was quickly cut short after he sustained a serious hand injury, forcing him out of the lineup for all of January and February.
He came back before the end of the season and showed some nice stretches, scoring a combined 11 points in his final 24 regular season games, but never quite reached the level of play he was at the season before. He finished 2012/2013 with 14 points and a +4 rating in 37 games, numbers that were lower than everyone, probably Glennie himself as well, were hoping for.
The question now, heading into the 2013/2014 season in just a couple months, is whether or not he can bounce back and get back on the development path that he was on before.
Talent wise, Glennie is more than capable. He has the skills required to be a valuable player, and at 6'1" isn't lacking in terms of size. Playing both center and right wing makes him a valuable asset that can be plugged into different aspects of the roster.
What's more, he plays an underrated two-way game, making him a useful roster player even when the pucks aren't finding the back of the net. Even though his relationship with Desjardins got off to a rocky start, Glennie's defensive game made huge strides last year, and the staunch, no-nonsense defensive coaching style of "Whiteboard Willie" surely played some kind of part in that.
Any improvements won't come easily, however, as competition for prime ice time in Texas is sure to become even more fierce next year. Highly-regarded prospects Brett Ritchie and Matej Stransky are done with their junior tours of duty and will be joining Texas next year, as will 27-year old veteran Chris Mueller, who was signed as a free agent after four years in the Nashville Predators' system. Add in Colton Sceviour, Travis Morin, Justin Dowling, Francis Wathier and Mike Hedden and suddenly you have a lot of very capable players battling for only six spots on the top two lines.
All of this, of course, is also hinging on Glennie remaining at 100% health, something that he has often been very unlucky with so far in his career.
One way or another, as of right now Glennie is only 22 years old, and still has a lot of hockey left ahead of him.
Dallas has been stockpiling promising prospects for the last few years, and are now at the point where they possess one of the deepest, most impressive prospect pools in the league. With all the hype surrounding Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak, Valeri Nichushkin, Jack Campbell and other top prospects, Glennie has almost been pushed back into the shadows, which is a shame considering he still possesses a ton of potential. DBD's most recent prospect rankings still have Glennie at 12th out of a very deep pool, so all hope is not yet lost.
The upcoming season will be the last one of his entry level contract with the Stars, leaving him as an RFA at the end of next year. The potential for a secure, long term new contract, combined with the desire to redeem himself from a disappointing season, should provide Glennie with all the motivation that he needs to have a bounce back season. The opportunity is there: he just needs to seize it, and be helped out by some good luck along the way.
Stars Insider feature on Scott Glennie (via Jeff Power)
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