Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.
You can catch up on the series here: Michael Amadio, Reilly Smith, Jonas Rondbjerg, Keegan Kolesar, Robin Lehner, Alex Pietrangelo, Nolan Patrick, Shea Theodore, Jake Leschyshyn, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Laurent Brossoit, Mattias Janmark, William Carrier, Jack Eichel, Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Ben Hutton, Dylan Coghlan, Nicolas Hague, and Zach Whitecloud.
Today’s player is Brett Howden
Brett Howden was acquired by the Golden Knights in a small under-the-radar deal last summer with the VGK trading prospect Nick DeSimone and a 2022 4th round pick to the New York Rangers for Howden. A former first-round pick back in 2016, there was promise to Howden’s game as he arrived in Las Vegas.
Howden showed flashes of greatness and skills that justified his first-round selection. But just as it seemed the Golden Knights had a young offensive-minded bottom-six forward, his season came to an end during a nasty and unfortunate collision with Fillip Forsberg
— Owen Krepps (@OKrepps85) March 25, 2022
This resulted in Howden leaving the game via a stretcher. He did not return for the rest of the season.
At 24 years old, Howden is a restricted free agent coming off a set of entry-level contracts that he signed with the Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. If he can recover from injury and ink a new deal, the Golden Knights have a solid offensive producer in their bottom six for 2022-23.
Howden really seemed to turn the corner for the Golden Knights on their Eastern Conference road trip in late 2021. On that trip, he scored a goal and assist against his former Rangers team. From that game on up until mid-March, he put up 15 points in 24 games, which included seven goals and a plus-six rating.
Out of Brett Howden's way! pic.twitter.com/iP8OMJ3BfP
— NHL (@NHL) November 17, 2021
In late Janurary and early February, Howden decided that he liked scoring goals. He scored goals in four straight and put up seven points in five games. This came at a time when the Golden Knights were desperate for depth scoring, and Howden stepped up.
Brett Howden didn't have to be this saucy 😱 pic.twitter.com/qqg1unz7VD
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 2, 2022
His speed and skating separate him from your typical bottom-six grinder in the NHL. Howden also showed strong chemistry with guys like Nolan Patrick, Adam Brooks, and Keegan Kolesar throughout the season. At 24 years of age, there is a lot to like with Howden’s game and more room for him to grow.
The collision against the Predators happened in late March and Howden missed the final 16 games.
Howden needs a new contract, but shouldn’t cost the Golden Knights much. I could see a one-to-two-year “prove yourself” type contract for Howden. While he showed flashes of excellence, his overall numbers weren’t anything outstanding as he struggled early on in the season and injuries cost him the latter half of his fourth year in the NHL.
With the Golden Knights up against the cap, having a player like Howden, who will likely come in cheap, will give them the flexibility to move guys around more in the lineup. I can see Howden breaking out in 2022-23 and becoming an impact player for the Golden Knights.