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2016 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Brett Howden

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What Howden lacks in flash he more than makes up for in a smart, versatile game that should lend itself well to a long NHL career

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Name: Brett Howden

2015-16 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Stats: 68 GP, 24 goals, 40 assists, 64 points, 61 PIMs, -7 rating

Future Considerations Ranking: 32nd

NHL Comparable Player: Travis Zajac

Brett Howden might not have the same flashy appeal as other prospects in this year's draft, but there's definitely something to be said about the value in a safe pick.

Howden has a complete tool box of hockey skills that should allow him to have a long, productive career in the NHL. He's blessed with great size at 6'2" and 190 pounds and enough strength to play a strong cycle game, but also has a good, long skating stride that allows him to get around the ice efficiently and play off the rush. Neither his hands nor his shot are upper-tier, but they're both still very good and allow him to do a decent amount of offensive damage.

He thinks the game at a high level and has an uncanny ability, given his size, to move through traffic and find open spaces. He's at his most dangerous around the net, especially on the powerplay, as he can use his great frame to shield off defenders while using a quick stick and a quick mind to acquire the puck, which he can then either bury himself or make a snappy pass to one of his teammates.

The younger brother of Florida Panthers forward Quinton Howden, he was used in defensive situations for Moose Jaw this past season, and when you combine his size, skating and smarts it seems very likely that he could be coached and developed over time into a strong defensive forward at the NHL level.

While his regular season scoring numbers don't exactly jump off the page, Howden had an excellent spring that hinted that there might still be more untapped offensive potential in his game. He upped his scoring in the playoffs with 15 points in 10 games, and then continued his torrid pace right afterwards with five goals and eight points in six games for Canada at the 2016 IIHF U18s. It was already the third time that the young forward has played for Canada in a top international tournament, after the 2015 U18s and 2015 Ivan Hlinka.

Considering the Stars' recent draft history, where they've selected a number of big, 200-foot forwards with good skating, it seems likely that Howden would be high on their list this year. That he plays in the WHL, a league that the team has drafted out of heavily over the past decade, probably adds to that fact.

He might not be as exciting as other prospects that are projected to go in the 20-30 range, but he nevertheless has the same amount of potential to be an impact player in the NHL.