Turning heads with his playmaking abilities and vision is #20 on the ISS Hockey Top Ranked Prospects for the NHL Draft, Moose Jaw centre Brett Howden.
Standing at 6’2” and 192 lbs., he is an intimidating presence on the ice. But it’s not just his size that’s getting him noticed. Game after game, coaches and scouts are impressed with the intelligence and hard work he brings to the ice. Add that to an above average stride and reach, and you’ve got a solid draft pick with a ton of upside.
The Oakbank, Man. native was called up to the WHL’s Warriors in the 2013-14 season. Since then, Howden has been working hard to consistently improve his game in Moose Jaw. He’s sitting on 111 points in 141 games played with the Warriors, with 64 of those points (24G, 40A) coming in 68 games played this past season.
“The highlight of these past two years with the warriors is making the playoffs this past year,” Howden told us. “I also had the opportunity to play with Brayden Point and Dryden Hunt, which was very special.”
Howden and the Warriors defeated the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round of the WHL Eastern Conference 4-1 and were then eliminated in a matching score by the Brandon Wheat Kings, who eventually won the WHL title and are gearing up for the Memorial Cup. Howden clearly works well under pressure as he managed an impressive 15 points in those 10 postseason games.
Asked what gives him a drive to succeed, 18-year-old Howden was quick to look to brother Quinton, a centre on the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
“Seeing all the success my brother has had makes me push myself as hard as I can,” Brett explained. “All his hard work has paid off and I hope for the same one day.”
“The biggest thing I've learned from Quinton is how determined you have to be if you want to be successful. Watching it first hand—how much work and effort he puts into it—makes me realize how hard it is and what it takes.”
Clearly, Howden has drawn a lot of inspiration from his brother and learned how to put that into his own game. On top of his success with the Warriors, he was also a key player for Team Canada at the IIHF U18 World Championships in Switzerland, where he earned eights points in six games played and helped Canada win the bronze. He also had the honour of wearing the “C” at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where Canada took home the gold.
And Howden doesn’t only have his brother to lean on, he also credits his parents for where he is now.
“They have always been there supporting me through everything I have done to this point,” he shared. “They push me to be my best all the time in everything I do and without them, I wouldn't have the success I have today.”
Again thanks to his family, Brett won’t have to face the NHL Entry Draft as a complete newcomer. That’s because at 12 years old, Howden had the chance to watch his brother Quinton get drafted in the first round round, 25th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Of course, that doesn’t stop him for experiencing all the same emotions that other potential prospects face.
“I'm sure once I'm at the draft I'll be feeling a ton of emotions that I haven't felt before all at once, but right now it's mostly just excitement,” he told HockeyNow. “I am obviously a bit anxious and nervous but that's what comes along with the NHL draft.”
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