The Florida Panthers have received a solid contribution from rookie Jonathan Huberdeau this season, as the 2011 third overall draft pick has scored 13 goals and collected 27 points through 42 games. Fellow rookie Drew Shore has also made a contribution, chipping in two goals and 11 points in 37 games. One rookie who has yet to impress is Quinton Howden, a winger who has not yet recorded a point in 13 games with the Panthers.
The Panthers selected Howden in the first round of the 2010 draft, and up until now he has proven to be a gifted scorer at every level he has played at. He scored 28 or more goals for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL in three of his four seasons there, and has 13 goals and 30 points for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL this season when he hasn’t been with the Panthers. The lack of anything left to play for other than pride has allowed the Panthers to get a lot of their young players in the mix, and Howden has yet to take advantage of his opportunity.
Howden’s performance has been unimpressive enough that he now finds himself playing on the fourth line with Shore and George Parros. While his size (6-3, 180) would suggest a great career as a grinder, the scoring potential he showcased up until now gave hope that there was more in store for him.
If the Panthers were battling for a playoff spot and not besieged by injuries, this kind of performance would likely land Howden back in the AHL. With only six games remaining in the regular season, the window for Howden to make a case for a roster spot is closing and he needs to start contributing soon.