Brett Howden is Finding His Stride With the Golden Knights

Brett Howden for the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Brett Howden for the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights acquired Brett Howden from the New York Rangers on July 17th, 2021. The former first-round pick never quite hit his stride with the Rangers which led to him being available this off-season. The Knights swooped in and picked him up.

Honestly, the Rangers don’t seem to do a great job at producing their top tier picks which makes Howden’s fall, understandable. I mean look at Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, they have not been the players we thought they were going to be. But we’re getting off track.

Howden has been one of the more underrated Golden Knights this season, but hopefully we can shed some light on him in this article. He deserves it.

Howden has been a healthy scratch at times this season, but he was also Pete DeBoer’s first choice to replace Chandler Stephenson as the center one after Stephenson went out due to COVID. Although that was a short lived experiment, he didn’t start hitting his stride until recently.

Howden was acquired to help fill out the depth that the Knights were severely lacking. He also wasn’t the only one they brought in this off-season.

The Golden Knights had just lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs and knew that adding depth was going to be necessary. Knowing that they brought in not only Brett Howden, but they also brought in Nolan Patrick and Evgenii Dadonov. Not to mention the re-signing of Mattias Janmark and Alec Martinez.

Then you fast-forward to today and the Golden Knights not only have all of those names but they also acquired Jack Eichel form the Buffalo Sabres. In doing so, they gave up Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, and a first-round pick.

Now they are in a very good position to compete for a Stanley Cup. But that’s not necessarily because of their superstars as much as it is their depth.

When you take a look at the Golden Knights roster, you will see that between Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alec Martinez, Robin Lehner, William Karlsson, Zach Whitecloud, and Nolan Patrick, they’ve all missed an extended number of games due to injury. However, in saying that it’s important to mention some of the names who have stepped up greatly.

With guys like Jake Leschyshyn, Jonas Rondbjerg, Keegan Kolesar, Dylan Coghlan, and Ben Hutton stepping up and playing well, it helped keep the Knights at a point in which they could be considered Stanley Cup contenders. I mean, yes they lost games. However, they also had a couple really good win streaks too.

But even with those guys playing well, it’s important to mention just how well guys like Brett Howden and Nicolas Roy played. I mean, both of them stepped up in much needed ways. However, what Brett Howden has done over the course of the last month or two is even more incredible.

Brett Howden generally man’s the fourth-line, better known as the ‘check line’. They are your grinders who play strong on the boards and in the check game. Yet, somehow Brett Howden has found way’s to not just produce but produce at a very high level.

Since January, he has played in 15 games for the Golden Knights. In those 15 games, Howden has five goals, five assists, for 10 total points. Additionally, he has a +/- of +3, has a short-handed assist, and his average time on the ice is 11:25.

Assuming he plays the remainder of the 2021-22 season Howden will surpass his career totals and potentially solidify his spot as a regular NHLer in the league.

Howden has experience in the league, although he hasn’t really been given a fair shot until this year, the Golden Knights could get a gem in Howden. After all, he is only 23 years old.

I mean the trajectory of his career could eventually put him as a top six forward for the Knights should he be given the opportunity too. But in the meantime I think he’ll play a productive fourth-line center role.

With all the injuries that the Golden Knight have had to deal with, there is so many different line combinations. We have seen the fourth-line create some very good chances in the past, and there is a chemistry growing between Howden, Kolesar, Patrick, Amadio that could allow the fourth-line to become a lot more productive in the future.

Brett Howden has found a way to make himself a “misfit”, as he was ditched by two teams in the NHL before he was even 24.

Trending. When Should the Golden Knights Expect Alec Martinez Back?. light

He is eligible for arbitration this off-season, I’d presume that Kelly McCrimmon will chose to keep Howden for the near future. The offense that he has provided despite his limited ice time on the fourth line has almost guaranteed his next contract to be with the Golden Knights.