Can Brett Howden Crack The Rangers Roster This Season?

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Training camp has begun for the New York Rangers. Mats Zuccarello, Mika ZIbanejad, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Kreider and Henrik Lundqvist are all back in action with their fellow teammates to gear up for the 2018-19 season. Among these guys is another name that could show some prominence and impact once the season starts rolling; that name is Brett Howden.

Brett Howden was brought over to the Rangers in the Ryan McDonagh, alongside defenseman Libor Hajek.

During the Traverse City Tournament, Howden shined with some of the other top prospects in the NHL. Playing on a line primarily with another roster hopeful, Ty Ronning, and Dawson Leedahl, Howden played admirably.

As reported by Colin Stephenson of Newsday, Howden talked on his preparation of the season, and what his outlook is.

“Obviously, I’ve just got to show what I can do, and show my game, and do whatever I can to the best of my ability and let everything take care of itself,’’ he said. “I can’t control what (the coaches) do, or what they say, or how they think. I just can control what I can control on the ice and off the ice and that’s what I’m going to try and do.’’

What Howden Brings

Howden, 20-years-old out of Oakbank, Manitoba, was the captain of his WHL team, the Moose Jaw Warriors. In his four full seasons with Moose Jaw, he showed excellent offensive skill with 267 points (109 goals and 158 assists) in 248 games. The centerman can find his way into open ice and also battle in the dirty areas, as evident in this highlight clip.

Obviously, he will more than likely have some time to grow and learn in Hartford, especially with the logjam of centers expected to be in David Quinn’s arsenal. The Blueshirts have Mika ZIbanejad, Kevin Hayes, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Spooner, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil in the middle. Now, the last five of that list can possibly be moved to a wing to clear up some room, but if most stay at their regular position, Howden is going to have a tough time trying to move up.

Status and future of the team

This season, barring a surprising turn-around from this rebuilding team, is a season to take a chance on different things. Find something that works and keep moving pieces around until something sticks.

The Rangers are going to have to find their winning ways once again, and that starts with finding a focus. As much as we all love King Hank, father time is calling and it is only a matter of time before the hourglass runs out. It is now time to use the youth that was traded for, and that includes Howden.

What was the point in going toward this youth movement, if they don’t use the talent?