2019-2020 NY Rangers Player Report Card: Brett Howden

Brett Howden entered his sophomore season with the NY Rangers looking to improve upon a pretty rough rookie year. Howden started that season hot, but really struggled at the end of the season. His play away from the puck was close to league-worst. The only way for Howden to go was up.

Howden finished the season with a line of 9-10-19, improving on his goal totals while not really improving anywhere else. It’s clear Howden struggles at center, which is why he spent a good portion of the season at wing. He actually fared somewhat well in that role, albeit in an extremely small sample size. He was bouncing between wing on the third line and center on the fourth line for most of January and February before the season was put on hold.

Howden’s performance away from the puck did not improve. The above is a consolidation of the full season, which includes his time at wing and at center. It’s as clear as day – the Rangers are a better team without Brett Howden on the ice. He doesn’t drive offense and he’s a liability on defense. This isn’t much of a surprise, though.

Player trends over time matter, especially as prospects (hopefully) continue to grow and learn. Howden was a center through November, beginning December as a winger for the most part. In February he was bouncing around both positions. No matter what position, Howden’s season long xGF% rolling averages were well below league average. He did, however, show some signs of improvement on wing.

Because Howden has been a bit of a whipping boy, it’s important to understand his impact on his teammates. WOWY charts aren’t the best representation and have their flaws, but they do at least tell a partial story.

There are two things to take note of here: The first is where the navy box is located. That is how a teammate performs with Howden on the ice. The second is the red box, how the teammate performs without Howden on the ice. The truly alarming piece here is that every navy box is located towards “bad” and every red box moves that teammate significantly more towards league average. The impact on Kakko is profound. That’s not good. Again not a perfect analysis, but it does confirm what we saw in the prior two charts. Brett Howden, simply put, struggles at the NHL level and is not a viable option for the Rangers.

There is some evidence to suggest that Howden might fare better at wing. That said, his overall results don’t warrant much more of a leash. Howden is entering his third and final year of his ELC. If he doesn’t improve, Howden might find himself as the Rangers expansion draft bait next summer.

Grade: D

Charts provided by Hockeyviz and chartinghockey.

Show More
  • He’s a good kid, with some size and energy, and he tries hard. Unfortunately, that’s what he’s been doing for two years. I think it’s time to let him move on.

  • I don’t hate Howden, he’s just 22 years old and learning. That said he’ll definitely be expansion bait along with Andersson, Hajek, etc.

    There’s something there, he’s got size, skates well, etc. He would be further along if he had started out in the AHL — that’s on the organization, not him.

    D+ or if you don’t like that, C-.

  • I am a bit confused as to why Howden doesn’t perform better. I think he has size and skating ability. It might be that the Rangers brought him to the big club before he was ready.

    Perhaps a stint in Hartford while they can still send him might do him good if he can get more intense instruction? If it doesn’t work, then at least they tried.

  • D D and D. I liked the kid starting 1st year with us. He easy beat Lias, but he didn’t do much after injury and show nothing last season of the progress. May be coach pet factor but it is what it is. It’s good example that DQ isn’t good on development

  • I hate to give up on a 22 year old kid. If he doesn’t improve enough that he can at least be counted on as a 3rd line forward, might as well use him as expansion draft bait.

    • Even with Kakko and Kravtsov being exempt from the draft, Chytil would slot in as the 7th protected forward. How can Howden even compete — unless we go out and trade someone in the Top 6. I guess that’s possible, but I have my doubts … maybe Strome, but Howden would have to have a BIG breakthrough season.

  • Howden
    GP G A P +/-
    136 15 27 42 -27

    GP G A P +/-
    144 26 23 49 -34

    His best days where when he was centering Fast. Since than he’s looked like a forward version of Hajek. Second to slow around the boards and good active stick that needs better timing. The lack of quality role players/callups will continue to kill his development.

    • You actually need to watch games to know the real difference between these two players. If your satellite or cable doesn’t provide all the MSG channels I suggest you look into AT&T TV or Fubo — both work with just an internet connection which you clearly have in order to look up the most basic statistics.

      • Scoring goals and assists are basic? Those are the #’s that get you paid, insists of statues of where one ranks etc. Lol nice try though.

        Maybe if I was talking metrics and fancy stats than you would have a point here.

  • Howden struggled in the pivot position but I do see his potential as a winger. He is strong along the boards and can make plays while under pressure. He has size and big league skating ability.

    It’s never easy making the jump to the NHL but I do believe he will find his way and become a journeyman player.

  • The only people that think Howden is an NHL player are Quinn and Gorton.

    Quinn, because he thinks that Howden has good intentions, and Gorton, because Howden was the center piece of the McD trade, which is turning out to be a bad trade.

    For those not remembering, it was McD and JT Miller for Howden, Hajek, Namestikov, and a 2018 first. Brutal. Not that I was against trading McD vs paying him big bucks, but at least get a good return.

    And Miller, who the Rangers had no use for, would have been one of our top scorers here (he had SEVENTY-TWO pts this past season). But they would rather play stiffs like Howden and miscast players like Strome and Fast into top 6 players.

    • Tony

      Interesting that you mention both Jeff Gorton, and DQ. Read the article by the Hockey Rodent dealing on this very subject, I think you’ll enjoy it. Have a great 4th, and Happy Birthday America!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Hey Walt.

        Yep, I know the article well, I used to read the Rodent all the time. Too bad he stopped posting. He was pretty truthful and usually right about the Rangers and their management.

        Have a great and safe 4th my friend.

    • JT Miller>Kreider

      I agree it was a bad move to trade him. Team USA is going to need guys like him and Hayes.

      • I was a huge JT fan, but I don’t know that he was better than Kreider, they do different things.

        BUT, how would JT look on this team right now? Pretty darn good.

        • It looks like Kreider is a poor man’s JVR at best. The only reason why he’s still here is because the returns weren’t good enough or else he’s a Bruin or a Avs player.

          The hockey world wouldn’t even debate. JT>Kreider

          • I think JT can do more things, especially on the offensive side. Especially passing.

            But CK opens up the ice and does a lot of intangible things.

            They’re pretty even, maybe CK slightly better, only because JT had the one great year last year, so we’ll see if he follows it up with another.

            But how great would it have been to have both?

    • Ugh, I want to like howden but never saw the excitement in him that Gorton saw. this trade feels worse with every passing game. McD and Miller for (|)

      • Howden started out ok, but then declined in his overall play.

        You watch him and he can’t possess the puck for more than 5 seconds without losing it or flubbing it.

  • Back to top button