If nothing else, history is on Tanner Glass.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero has a history of relying on former Vancouver Canucks to play left wing on the third line. Shero turned to Jarkko Ruutu in 2007 and Matt Cooke in 2008 to fill that role.
Glass will need more than that if he hopes to replace Cooke who departed as a free agent this past offseason.
While he appeared in all 48 regular season games last season after joining the team as a free agent, Glass, while predominately playing a fourth-line role, did not record a point until the 41st game of the season. In the postseason, Glass was often a healthy scratch and only appeared in five games.
Given his meager contributions last season, some might scoff at the notion of Glass getting a promotion to the third line but considering his own personal history, it's not out of the realm of possibility. In 2011-12, Glass had success as a third-liner with the Jets as he played in 78 points and scored 16 points.
Last week week, Glass, who is entering the final year of a contract with salary cap hit of $1.1 million, talked about that third line role.
There are some openings on the third line. Do you view that as a role you can fill?
"Yeah. It’s not going to be something that’s given to me or that’s been promised. If I come in and have a good camp and play well, it’s a responsibility I’d relish."
Matt Cooke's departure has left a void on the third line left wing specifically. Are there similarities to your game to his that would make you a candidate for his role?
"Definitely. I’ve done it before. I played a predominantly third-line role in Winnipeg with bigger minutes and a little more of a shutdown role. It’s always easier to play the more ice you get. It’s kind of a catch 22. You get out there more, you play better. But if you’re not playing well, you’re not going to put a guy out there. It’s something I’d love to do and love to have the opportunity to do. But it all depends on camp and the first few weeks of the season."
Ray Shero has a history of turning to former Canucks to fill that third-line left wing role...
"[Laughs] I guess that’s a good sign."
You had success in a third line role during the 2011-12 season playing on a line with Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn. What worked for you there?
"We’re pretty similar players all three of us. We liked to get in the corners. Play a pretty physical game. Play a high-pressure game. I think that’s kind of the system we play here. This is a high-pressure game and we’re playing with guys who can skate. If you get in on the forecheck and make life tough on the opposing defense … you’ll have success."
You appeared in all 48 games last season but even by your own admittance, you didn't have as strong of a season as you wanted. What didn't work for you?
"It’s tough. I look at my body of work last year, for the most part, I think I was okay. Coming off the year I had in Winnipeg, I was looking to take the next step and contribute more on a nightly basis. I think just getting being the eight ball, picking up a few minuses, a few hard-luck plays and when you don’t have a point until game , it can wear on you too. It’s a matter of starting quick I think and getting out there. Coming to a new team, if you don’t contribute right away, it kind of starts to wear on you too. This year, I have the comfort level of knowing the guys, knowing the organization and the comfort level of coming to a place I’m familiar with."
Were any issues of being on a new team amplified by the lockout? You said you didn't even get to meet the coaches or management until after the lockout was over.
"It definitely was a weird year. It definitely wasn’t ideal coming to a new team after the lockout like that. It’s an accelerated training camp. Everything was kind of rush, rush. That being said, there’s no excuses. We’re professional athletes. We have enough time to prepare. The coaching staff is so thorough and my teammates did such a good job at helping me out with that stuff that I was prepared to play. The comfort level this year hopefully makes those things better."
There appears to be a lot of competition in training camp for positions on the bottom two lines...
"Yeah. Everyone wants to play … It’s the same every year on every team. You have a locker room full of competitive guys. Guys who are fighting for those minutes, for their families, for their lives. It’s healthy competition."
You're entering the final year of a two-year contract. Do you identify that and realize you need a strong season to get another multi-year deal?
"It feels like that every year for me. I’ve had one-year, two-year deals all along. You come to training camp and you get here and you see it’s just another reminder that guys want your job. You train with young guys all summer and you see how hungry they are. You’ve got to try to match it if not exceed it every year. For me, I feel like that every year. It doesn’t change anything with my mindset."
This team is currently over the salary cap. Do you pay any attention to what that might mean to your fate with this team?
"That’s not my job. My job is to play good defensive hockey and be physical. Chip in where I can and be good on the penalty kill. We’ve got some pretty smart guys taking care of that. Ray [Shero] will figure that out."
(Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)