With the NHL trade deadline coming up next Monday and the Dallas Stars currently seven points back of a playoff spot, it's no surprise that trade talk involving the organization is starting to pick up.
As is the case with most teams that decide to be "sellers" prior to the deadline, veteran players on expiring contracts are usually the targets du jour. For the Stars right now this means Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff.
But the weeks leading up to the deadline, with so many general managers in regular communication with each other, scouts closely watching players from opposing teams, and capologists crunching numbers, also provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to analyze their current situations and make other kinds of trades with one another.
For the Stars, this time of year might provide the ideal opportunity to make a big decision on one of their most controversial prospects: forward Scott Glennie.
By now the story of Scott Glennie is well-known among Stars fans. Drafted 8th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, ahead of names like Jared Cowen, Ryan Ellis, Nick Leddy and Chris Kreider, Glennie has never fully met the expectations associated with his lofty draft status.
Six years have passed since that draft, yet the 24 year-old Glennie has only ever played one game in Dallas, which happened to be the final game of the 2011-2012 season after the Stars were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
Things started well enough for Glennie post-draft, generating impressive 89 and 91-point seasons in his final two years in the WHL while playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings. That junior success, unfortunately, never fully translated to the professional leagues, as he has never fully established himself as a dominant player in the American Hockey League.
Now, that's not to say that Glennie has been bad, per se, because that's not the case. To his credit, Glennie has developed into a steady, reliable, two-way forward at the AHL level, and was a contributing player on last year's Calder Cup-winning Texas Stars team, notching 10 points in 20 postseason games.
The problem, however, is that "steady" and "reliable" haven't been good enough. Young forwards Valeri Nichushkin, Cody Eakin, Antoine Roussel, Colton Sceviour, Brett Ritchie and Curtis McKenzie have all passed Glennie on the depth chart and headed to Dallas, while promising prospects Jason Dickinson, Devin Shore, Remi Elie and Cole Ully will all be joining the Texas Stars next season and are each in a good position to do the exact same thing.
Through 48 games with the Texas Stars this season he has 26 points, which ranks him sixth on the team, behind undrafted forwards Justin Dowling and Derek Hulak and 33 year-old veteran Greg Rallo.
Where did it all go wrong for Glennie?
First of all, injuries have taken a major toll. Over the past few years he's faced separate hand, shoulder, and concussion issues that have all forced the Winnipeg native to miss time. He dressed for only 37 regular season contests in 2012-2013, and then just 50 in 2013-2014.
Secondly, Glennie has had a carousel of coaches behind the bench in Texas. His first season was under Jeff Pyle, followed by Willie Desjardins for two and now Derek Laxdal this year, his third coach in only four seasons. That amount of turnaround can be very detrimental to a young player's development.
The question now, then, is where do the Stars and Glennie go from here?
On the contract front, Glennie is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. The Stars will retain his rights and have the option to re-sign him, but there's reason to suggest that they might have some hesitation to do so. Glennie was also a RFA last summer, but Jim Nill elected to only extend him for one year as opposed to locking him up to a longer deal.
Maybe it's time for both parties to move on. Glennie is still young enough that he could take that next step in his development and become a regular NHLer one day, but with minimal improvements over the course of four years with the Stars it's not unreasonable to wonder whether he'd have a better chance of doing that in another organization. A change of scenery could do wonders for his career.
And, despite his struggles, Glennie probably still has value out on the trade market, as former 1st round picks almost always do. Maybe that's as a piece of a larger deal, or possibly in exchange for a different prospect.
Sometimes it's best to let the past be the past, but focus on a different path for the future. For both the Dallas Stars and Scott Glennie, that time might be now.