Glass gunning for NHL return, either with Rangers ‘or someone else’

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Here’s a name to keep an eye on as the trade deadline draws closer:

Tanner Glass.

Glass, the 33-year-old veteran with 500 games of NHL experience, has been plying his trade with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford this season, racking up five goals and seven points through 25 contests. But his story in Hartford goes beyond the numbers.

Head coach Ken Gernander — who’s raved about Glass’ character and dressing room presence — has utilized the former Dartmouth product in a way designed to keep his big-league skills sharp.

“We’re still hoping that he makes his return to the NHL and to do that he’s going to be a role player who finishes his checks, is a penalty killer, a reliable guy defensively to help his team late in the game protect a lead,” Gernander said, per the Hartford Courant. “And that’s how we like to use him here.

“We’re trying to do right by him by continuing to use him in a role that will give him the chance to show what he can offer an NHL team.”

It appears both parties are on the same page. Glass, who’s appeared in 60 Stanley Cup playoff games — including the ’11 Final with Vancouver — told the Courant his goal is to get back up with the Rangers, “or someone else.”

Waived just prior to the start of the regular season, Glass is in the last of a three-year, $4.35 million deal with a $1.45M cap hit, and that minimal financial impact could sway teams into inquiring. Specifically, teams that are looking to add some toughness. Glass has been a willing combatant throughout his career, and led the Rangers in fights in each of the last two seasons.

We’ve already seen a few teams make moves to harden up their lineups this season. Florida acquired d-man Dylan McIlrath from the Rangers for that exact reason and, on Thursday, the Devils gave tough guy Luke Gazdic his season debut after head coach John Hynes said they were “too easy to play against.”

Among the potential fits for Glass? Buffalo (he’s long been a favorite of head coach Dan Bylsma) or possibly Nashville, a team that has recent history of employing a veteran physical presence (Matt Hendricks, Paul Gaustad, Brian McGrattan, Rich Clune, etc.)