Remember that Lemieux is suspended, so it is likely Howden finds himself on the wing on the fourth line until Lemieux returns. Despite the other forwards joining the club, this is the likely lineup when the puck drops against Carolina in Toronto.
David Quinn, on Brendan Smith, said that Smith is a defenseman. He fared well with Trouba in a short period of time, and there really is no one else that can step into those minutes. It’s not like the Rangers have many options when it comes to lineup depth.
Heading into the playoffs, the NY Rangers lines show they are clearly top heavy. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, as this team was carried by its stars all season. They will need to do the same in the playoffs if the Rangers are to survive.