Brett Howden needs to do more for the Rangers or Morgan Barron should take his place

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Feb 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Brett Howden (21) carries the puck against Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Howden is in his third season with the New York Rangers and has just two assists in 23 games. The 22 year-old center is a staple on the team’s second penalty killing unit, as they’ve killed 50 of their last 53 penalties against.

He deserves plenty of accolades for helping the Rangers become one of the better PK team’s in the NHL, but he needs to contribute offensively 5 on 5 or someone else should get the chance.

Brett Howden not getting it done offensively

Time seems to be running out for Brett Howden to solidify himself as part of the Rangers future. It sounds crazy to talk that way about a 22 year old who was the 27th overall pick in 2016, but here we are.

It’s really a byproduct of where the Rangers are in the rebuild. They have an overloaded prospect pool plus the signings of pivots Kevin Rooney and Colin Blackwell give them immediate options. Not to mention that the Blueshirts are giving Morgan Barron a long look at center in Hartford.

Howden put up a respectable amount of points in his first season with the Blueshirts in 2018-19 as a 20 year-old. He notched 23 points in 66 games that season (.35 pts per game average). Howden regressed slightly the next season with 19 points in 70 games (.27). This season he’s nowhere to be found on the scoresheet. To date he’s averaging just .08 points per game.

The time has come for David Quinn to recognize this and maybe go with a different look on the fourth line.

brett howden
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Morgan Barron is likely coming soon

Without getting to crazy into cap constraints, the Rangers will soon be able to make call ups of players like Tarmo Reunanen and Morgan Barron.

The Rangers drafted Barron in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and are pleased with his development. This season for the Wolf Pack he has three goals and five points in six games. He’s playing on the power play and leads the Pack with two goals on the man advantage.

At 6-4 and 220 pounds, Barron is physically mature for the rigors of an NHL season. His production in the AHL has been solid as well. He currently has a four game point streak with two goals and two assists in that span.

Should he continue this play, the Rangers will be hard pressed not to give him a look this season. At this rate it should come at the expense of Brett Howden.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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