When you are the first overall pick in WHL Bantam Draft, there are going to be some expectations that come with it. Quinton Howden, the 6'3", 183-pound left winger for the Moose Jaw Warriors, has surpassed those expectations.
“He's making the adjustments, which is what you want to see,” Sports Illustrated says. “He always got by on size before. Now he's showing more drive, more commitment to physical play and he's working hard at both ends. He has a good release and is willing to get into the greasy areas to make the most of it.”
After being selected first in 2007, Howden had a terrible rookie year, putting up 30 points in 62 games, but having a minus-37 rating, showing how horrible he was defensively. Altogether, he simply was not a responsible skater.
However, after working hard in the summer, he came back to score 65 points in 65 games, a number that includes 28 goals. His plus-14 rating is not incredible, but it is surely an improvement from the year before. His improvement helped Central Scouting decide to rank him 19th in their final rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“Quinton Howden may be the most effortless skater in the WHL right now,” TheScoutingReport.org says. “His fantastic acceleration often provided his defensemen with a great outlet option. It also aided his transition game in the neutral zone where he was very effective in back checking and then turning the play back up the ice. He showed good hands in sending Moose Jaw captain Jason Bast in on a breakaway and was one of the few Warriors to pressure the Calgary defense at all.
"However, Howden could stand to benefit by showing more patience with the puck, allowing time for his teammates to join in and help him. He finished the game pointless and a minus-1.”
Howden, though, is not simply a player who will put up points by himself. He understands the importance of having chemistry with his teammates.
“I’m getting a chance to play with some great guys like Jason Bast and Thomas Frazee,” Howden said in an interview with NHL.com. “They’re phenomenal line mates and I can learn so much from both of them; they’ve been through more than anybody. I try to take things from them and help them out as much as I can, and they’re doing the same for me. The main part is we’re having fun out there, and it’s enjoyable and at the same time we’re working hard.”
Howden, knowing what critics were saying about his game, came back in the 2009-10 season to silence them.
“I’ve worked a lot on my defensive zone,” Howden continued. “That’s one of the things I try to work a lot on; my play away from the puck. In the defensive zone I’ve done a lot better with having my stick on the ice, and being aware of where guys are at. Just the little things I can do to try and improve myself, it’s helped my plus minus from last year. I’ve just been taking stuff from the leaders and trying to take everything into factor and build up on everything.”
But why would an NHL team want Howden in their organization?
I think I’m a valuable guy to have on a team. I work hard, and can bring some leadership to a team. I have some big assets that any team can use as far as my speed and vision and stuff like that, so I if I can bring that to a team; that’d be huge for me.”
Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.