Brett Howden surprised us all when he cracked the New York Rangers lineup. Through three games, he’s showing us they made the right call.
Andersson was coming off of his most impressive stretch since coming over to the Blueshirts with the seventh overall pick in 2017. But, the coaching staff saw something in Howden where they felt it was more important for Andersson to spend some more time in Hartford playing top minutes.
After Howden did not do anything eye-opening in the Rangers opening night loss to the Nashville Predators, he showed just why the team wants him in the NHL over the weekend.
Yes, he scored his first goal in the NHL, but that alone cannot be the reason that head coach can feel justified in giving the 20-year-old a chance to play under the big lights. As a matter of fact, it is Howden’s solid all-around game that has bought him that chance, and he is being rewarded for it.
Over the course of the young season, Howden has seen more and more time on the ice in different scenarios. He has found himself on the power play, penalty kill, and seeing more meaningful minutes down the stretch. He is playing with a sense of confidence, and it shows in his game and through his coach’s ability to trust him.
Trust is the key word here, as Quinn looks to players that he feels are worthy of more minutes, and Howden has done just that.
Quinn mixing things up in practice today:
— Dom Renna (@drennaESNY) October 9, 2018
Should Quinn go with this lineup, Howden would be in the middle of the most important Rangers from an offensive standpoint. What a difference compared to a week ago where he was skating with Vladislav Namestnikov, Vinni Lettieri, and Cody McLeod.
Despite skating with a different level of skill, Howden was still able to show why the Rangers insisted he was a part of the Ryan McDonagh/J.T. Miller trade at the NHL trade deadline last season.
He has the size where he can go to the front of the net like he did when he netted his first career goal. He also has the hands where he can set up his teammates evident by his pass to Chris Kreider leading to a goal in the Blueshirts 8-5 loss to Carolina Sunday.
Perhaps that pass to Kreider showed Quinn enough to move him to that first line. Maybe now that he will be on that top line, we can see how he was able to score 267 points in five seasons over in the WHL.
Howden has proved in a very short time that he deserves every chance to play with top line players. Now he gets the chance to do just that and, is proving the coaching staff made the right call going with him instead of Andersson.
Rebuilds can have bright spots, and Howden has been one, despite the team’s lackluster play to start the season.