Before he accepted a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs, I’ll admit – I wasn’t a Curtis Glencross ‘fan’, per se, but I also didn’t hate his game. I actually found that to be quite a good PTO to offer, and was willing to hop on the Glencross bandwagon if he did manage to spin this upcoming season of straw into gold.
It seemed surprising that the Leafs, who are trying to rebuild, would add players with significant value, though.
I mean, come on. Auston Matthews. #TankForMatthews2016 is a thing, right?
Then Nations Network overlord Thomas Drance shot us a message.
Look at Glencross’ stats over his career, said Drance.
We did. They look pretty good; his last full season with fewer than 12 goals was… well, never. He’s been a perennial middle six forward with moderate scoring upside in the regular season. He seems to be good in the post-season, as well, although the dude admittedly lacks much of a sample size to pull from in the playoffs.
Look at the regular season results, said Drance. Why aren’t his teams making the playoffs?
Curtis Glencross is the perfect tanking machine.
College Tanking: The University of Alaska-Anchorage
Glencross played his first season in the NCAA with the University of Alaska-Anchorage, a team that – despite not being new to the NCAA, bringing back a coach from the year before, and having an upperclassmen in net as a returnee from the year before – would go an awe-inspiring 1-28-7.
Yes. They really only won one game that year. Even UConn, who made the transition to the ultra-competitive Hockey East in the 2014-2015 season, put up better numbers than that. The best part? Glencross, a freshman, posted reasonably successful numbers that year as the team’s second highest scorer. Somehow, his 11 goals and 23 points in 35 games only contributed to one win. Even the next year, when he’d go on nearly a point-per-game pace with UAA, the team would only improve to a 14-23-3 record.
That’s tanking with development, my friends.
In fairness, to say that Alaska-Anchorage was ever really a competitive school in the perennially powerful WCHA would be… uh, a stretch. After 1993, the school wouldn’t meet with actual success (and by success, I mean at least a .500 record) again until the 2013-2014 season. Last year, they went right back to losing in excess with an 8-22-4 record and a .294 win rate. It wasn’t Glencross’ fault… but if the Leafs are looking for a guy to lose in a competitive manner, it seems like this is the guy to do it.
Glencross and the Calgary Era
I’m going to kind of gloss over the first few years after Glencross went pro, because they really just saw his stats go up while his teams’ win rates went down. Let’s move on to when he signed in Calgary in 2008, because that’s when things get interesting again.
Over six and a half seasons with the Flames, Glencross would score 114 regular season goals in 418 regular season games.
Of course, he’d only rack up three assists in the post-season… because in six and a half years, the Flames would only see the post-season once. They’d see six games of playoff action his first year in Calgary, then go back to being the most amazing kind of mediocre.
If Glencross’ 24 goals in 2010-2011 were the highest on the team, maybe them missing the post-season would make sense. He would actually be the fifth highest scorer on the team, though, and come in behind both Rene Bourque and Jarome Iginla in goals scored, as well. Somehow, once again, Glencross managed to be a highly productive middle six player on a losing team.
If Glencross was some possession nightmare like half of the Edmonton Oilers, then maybe it would seem remiss to add him to the Leafs as they develop their young core.
He’s actually proven to be pretty stats-friendly over time, though, posting decent possession figures at even strength and consistently producing on the power play. He’s even, in the past, been known to find the back of the net whilst a man down; if the Leafs can find a spot for him, he may be worth a one year deal.
After all – if you’re gonna tank, make sure you’ve got the right pieces to do it.