#20. Quinton Howden | LW | Moose Jaw (WHL)
Date of Birth: January 21st, 1992 Height: 6.03 Weight: 183lbs. Shoots: L Season Statistics: Regular Season | 65GP 28G 37A 65P 44PIM Playoffs | n/a TSR Midterm Rank: 18 | Position Rank: 14th Forwards League Rank: 6th WHL | Country Rank: 9th Canada
Quinton Howden arrived on the scene of the Western Hockey League with extremely high expectations after being the first overall pick in the league’s annual bantam draft in 2007. After putting up impressive offensive numbers throughout his minor hockey career, there is no wonder why the Moose Jaw Warriors thought so highly of the 6’3″ forward out of Oak Bank, Manitoba. After joining the Warriors full time as a 16 year old, Howden’s offensive numbers have not been dazzling, but the lanky winger has made enough of a name for himself as a two-way force to have his name mentioned as a probable first round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
As a 16 year old in the WHL, Howden definitely had his share of ups and downs with the lowly Moose Jaw Warriors, potting 13 goals and 17 assists, along with a dismal -37 +/- rating while playing in 62 of the team’s 72 games. Howden quickly found out exactly how tough it can be for a 16 year old in the rough and tumble Western League, and would look to come back stronger in his draft year. Being sure not to disappoint, Howden’s 17 year old season showed a vast turn-around, as he would improve his numbers across the board; finding the back of the net 28 times in 65 games. Howden also added 37 assists and a hefty improvement in the +/- department, finishing out the season as a +14.
Offensively, Howden has shown potential; he was a point per game player while playing a strong two-way game – no easy feat for a 17 year old. His offensive game, however, is not what has NHL scouts turning their heads in excitement. Howden is a tremendous skater, and is able to effectively use his speed to create a name for himself as one of the top two-way forward prospects in the game. He has surprising acceleration for a player of his stature, and shows the hockey smarts and defensive poise to put that asset to good use.
Howden is not overly physical, and therefore he may benefit most from a good offseason in the weightroom; with a little added strength perhaps he could add that extra skill to his repertoire, something that he might need when facing the rigors of NHL sized forwards. He might also benefit from a calmer poise with the puck, which might further utilize his offensive potential.
Howden has the potential to be a top-6 forward in the NHL, but he looks like a solid bet to be a role player for whatever team selects him at the draft table. He is a fairly low-risk prospect – his size, skating, and defensive responsibility all make him an almost guaranteed depth forward, even if his offensive potential doesn’t translate to the next level.
Pros: Great speed/acceleration, Two-way game, Good Size.
Cons: Needs to be more confident with the puck.
Skillset Comparison: Rob Niedermayer