Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2010 Entry Draft. Now granted the last thing the Stars need is another left handed forward, as this profile points out, the promise this kid holds at playing both ends may be too much for the Stars to pass up on.;
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Born: Janurary 21, 1992
Hometown: Oak Bank, Manitoba
Weight: 183 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 19th North American Skaters
International Scouting Services: 16th
The Hockey News: 23rd
McKeen's Hockey: 37th
Red Line Report: 32nd
Why the Stars would want him:
There aren't really any safe bets in the draft - at least not after the third or fourth pick - but Quinton is as close to one as a team may get in the mid-to late first round. Not overly spectacular offensively although he posted some very solid numbers with the Moose Jaw Warriors and helped them with a major improvement this season He's probably never going to be a 1st or even second line forward, but he does have the potential to be a very dependable third line winger that can add the odd bit of offense while at the same time playing capable defense. Good penalty killer as well and will do what it takes to help his team win. Has the potential to be the next Stu Barnes (And Stu himself was a 4th overall pick back in 1989)
Why the Stars would pass:
If you subscribe to the idea of drafting the best talent available, then it's likely there will be someone at 11 that has more upside than Howden. While Quinton is a solid skater while he can be a bit of a scoring threat, his finishing ability lacks behind other potential draftees, nor is he an overly accomplished puck handler although again it's not exactly a weakness of his game either. He needs to work on his patience on the ice and fill out his 6 foot 3 inch frame... In short he's a long term prospect and there are others that may be available that might not need the time Howden does.
What they're saying:
"His skating is so good for his size. His threat is his speed, not only to score goals, but to cause turnovers. He's excellent on the penalty kill, always a threat out there. If he gets a step on anybody he's gone."
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.
Quinton Howden - 2010 Prospect Profile (via NHLVideo)