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Reasons For Brett Howden Optimism

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights acquisition of Brett Howden from the New York Rangers has not been met with much hoopla. Judging from the comments of Ranger fans on social media, you’d think Vegas was doing New York a favor by taking Howden off their hands.

Diving into his history, and specifically the underlying stats that led to a subpar 2020-21 season, there is definitely some reason for optimism for Howden in Las Vegas.

Howden finished last season with just one goal and six assists in 42 games. He posted a -2 rating while playing 12:34 per night, the lowest of his young career. His one goal came shorthanded and he attempted a measly 33 shots or about three every four games.

One of the main points of confidence in why Howden can turn it around was his usage in New York. Howden was primarily relied upon as a penalty killer playing in a bottom-six role alongside the likes of Colin Blackwell, Brendan Lemieux, Phillip Di Giuseppe, and Julien Gauthier. He was constantly asked to punch one or two lines above his weight, usually playing in a fourth-line role taking on second and third line opposition. His overall offensive zone start percentage was under 50% and came in well short of the team average.

In Vegas, due to the Golden Knights’ overwhelming puck possession numbers, Howden is almost guaranteed to start more than 50% of his shifts in the O-Zone, and he’ll likely be playing with much more offensively talented players.

The next piece is the breakdown of shots when he’s on the ice. Howden finished the year with a pretty pedestrian-looking 45.9% Corsi For percentage at even strength. That number would have placed him dead-last of any Golden Knight and more than 5% lower than any Vegas skater to log at least 100 minutes. However, Howden’s Fenwick (eliminating blocked shots) was a point and a half higher at 47.3%, indicating Howden and his line blocked more shots than their opponents. Finally, his shot on goal share number was 48.9%, three points higher than his Corsi.

This shows one of two things, either Howden and his linemates were strong in forcing opposing shots to be blocked or miss the net, and/or Howden’s group was more particular in their shot selection in the offensive zone. Either way, playing in a Vegas system that controls the puck more will inevitably lead these numbers to increase.

Finally, we take a look at his shooting percentage. There’s really no way around the fact that scoring one goal in 42 games is poor. However, Howden finished the season with a 3% shooting percentage, by far the worst of his three NHL seasons. His rookie season he registered an 8% shooting percentage and improved in his sophomore year at 14.1%. Only two skaters on the Golden Knights finished below five percent, they were Zach Whitecloud (3.7%) and Ryan Reaves (3.8%). The next lowest full time skater was Keegan Kolesar, who notably struggled to score, and he ended the season at 6.5%, more than double Howden.

If there weren’t two seasons of better numbers in the NHL, this 3% number could be a concern, but with an 11% shooting percentage over his first 136 games, it’s much easier to write off the last 42 as an anomoly.

To make matters worse, his teammates weren’t great at shooting while he was on the ice either. In all situations, Howden registered a PDO of 96.6. No Golden Knight regular was below 98 and only six of VGK’s 26 skaters were under the standard of 100.

Add it all up, and Brett Howden has no where to go but up. He’s on a better team, with more talent, in a worse division, and in a system that simply doesn’t allow poor advanced stats. Am I saying Howden is the next Chandler Stephenson or William Karlsson… no, I’m not. But, I’m also not ruling it out at this point.

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43 Comments

  1. Richard Santomauro

    Wow, you just turned a lemon off season into lemonade. Good job.

    • THE hockey GOD

      ^^^ there it is, example one of incessant non stop jib jabbery. Thought they had it. Done.

      or DONE DONE

      Obviously not done, still lurking in the forum, like the Big White.
      dun
      dun dun
      dun dun dun dun dun
      (jaws theme music in background)

      PS how’s your buddy Ric Saccomano ? And Cosmo Kramer ? It’s a lock, Jerry. I tell you . It’s a LOCK ! His fadda was mudda ! (his fadda was a mudda ? yea, his mudda was a mudda (his mudda was a MUDDA?) I tell you it’s a lock.

      The incessant jibber jabber of negativity. Always with the negative waves, Moriaty. Always with the negative waves. Can’t you ever say something righteous or beautiful ?
      Oh carp, the huns just blew up the bridge.
      oddball

  2. THE hockey GOD

    nice positive attitude article, some other factors that were left out. At six foot three no one is going to push him around. Then there is the name factor. He is HOW-e , it in . As well he has Brett in it (as in Brett Hull). In addition, he is a leader, he wore a C for his Western Hockey league team- Moose Jaw Warriors . Former first round pick of Tampa Bay. .

    I expect his play in front of net to make a difference.

    Plus he’s only 23, and has played over 150 games.

    Scouting Report
    Owns a big frame and plenty of two-way ability. Works very hard when on the ice and is a great competitor. Displays some leadership qualities, as well. Is also versatile. The jury is still out on his long-range production numbers at the National Hockey League level, as he may be limited to bottom-six forward duties. Needs to shoot the puck more.
    Long Range Potential: Sound, versatile two-way forward with some upside.

    He has a “new day, fresh start’ attitude out of the New York slime pressure cooker environment which has more press than a dry cleaning and winery facilities combined !

    (now queue up the dark side of the forum crowd, they are clamoring in the peanut gallery with their incessant jib jabbery (* definition : characterization of jabbering : talk rapidly and excitedly but with little sense. Jib = balking, complete meaning balking at moving forward, stuck in rinse/repeat cycle of excessive non stop jabbery)

    • THE hockey GOD

      Isn’t it rich?
      Are we a pair?
      Me here at last on the ground,
      You in mid-air,
      Where are the clowns?
      Isn’t it bliss?
      Don’t you approve?
      One who keeps tearing around,
      One who can’t move,
      Where are the clowns?
      There ought to be clowns?
      Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
      Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
      Making my entrance again with my usual flair
      Sure of my lines
      No one is there
      Don’t you love farce?
      My fault, I fear
      I thought that you’d want what I want
      Sorry, my dear!
      But where are the clowns
      Send in the clowns
      Don’t bother, they’re here
      Isn’t it rich?
      Isn’t it queer?
      Losing my timing this late in my career
      But where are the clowns?
      There ought to be clowns
      Well, maybe next year

      Judy Collins

      • jason mason

        If you should go skating
        On the thin ice of modern life
        Dragging behind you the silent reproach
        Of a million tear-stained eyes
        Don’t be surprised when a crack in the ice
        Appears under your feet
        You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
        With your fear flowing out behind you
        As you claw the thin ice

        Rodger Waters

  3. THE hockey GOD

    Ian Anderson
    Jethro Tull

    Skating away, skating away, skating away
    On the thin ice of the new day
    And as you cross the circle line
    Well, the ice wall creaks behind
    You’re a rabbit on the run
    And the silver splinters fly
    In the corner of your eye
    Shining in the setting sun
    Well, do you ever get the feeling
    That the story’s too damn real
    And in the present tense?
    Or that everybody’s on the stage
    And it seems like you’re the only
    Person sitting in the audience?
    Skating away, skating away, skating away
    On the thin ice of the new day
    Skating away, skating away, skating away

    • jason mason

      He was born in Big Beaver by the borderline
      He started playing hockey by the time he was nine
      His dad took the hose and froze the back yard
      And Little Buddy dreamed he was Rocket Richard
      He grew up big and he grew up tough
      He saw himself scoring for the Wings or Canucks
      But he wasn’t that good with a puck
      Buddy’s real talent was beating people up
      His heart wasn’t in it but the crowd ate it up
      Through pee-wee’s and juniors, midgets and mites
      He must have racked up more than six hundred fights
      A scout from the flames came down from Saskatoon
      Said, “There’s always room on our team for a goon
      Son, we’ve always got room for a goon”
      There were Swedes to the left of him
      Russians to the right
      A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
      Brains over brawn-that might work for you
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
      Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
      When Buddy the goon came over the boards
      “Coach, ” he’d say, “I wanna score goals”
      The coach said, “Buddy, remember your role
      The fast guys get paid, they shoot, they score
      Protect them, Buddy, that’s what you’re here for
      Protection is what you’re here for
      Protection-it’s the stars that score
      Protection-kick somebody’s ass
      Protection-don’t put the biscuit in the basket just
      Hit some, Buddy! it rang in his ears
      Blood on the ice ran down through the years
      The king of the goons with a box for a throne
      A thousand stitches and broken bones
      He never lost a fight on his icy patrol
      But deep inside, Buddy only dreamed of a goal
      He just wanted one damn goal
      There were Swedes at the the blue line
      Finns at the red
      A Russian with a stick heading straight for his head
      Brains over brawn-that might work for you
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
      In his final season, on his final night
      Buddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fight
      Thirty seconds left, the puck took a roll
      And suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal
      The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spot
      Twenty years of waiting went into that shot
      The fans jumped up, the Finn jumped too
      And coldcocked Buddy on his follow through
      The big man crumbled but he felt all right
      ‘Cause the last thing he saw
      was the flashing red light
      He saw that heavenly light
      There were Swedes to the left of him
      Russians to the right
      A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
      Take care of your teeth-that might work for you
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do
      But what’s a Canadian farm boy to do
      What else can a farm boy from Canada to do

      Hit Somebody
      Warren Zevon

  4. mcart

    meanwhile, the NY Rangers are trying to get Reilly Smith from the Vgk. Gallant wants him.

    possibly for center Ryan Strome

  5. Tim

    There’s a couple of guys today flapping there jaws over nothing. I thought we were here to give constructive posts not this off the wall shit. Some people just like to hear themselves rattle on I guess it makes them feel important or are they impotant and have to much time on there hands?

  6. Mike StG

    Well, as I said last week – I like what GMKM have done.

    – Patrick, high ceiling. Will be 3C minimum, could end up 1C and 60+ pts.

    – Howden, good bottom 6 add. Center, 2-way player, offensive potential.

    – Dadonov, good skater, good shot, net front player, PP threat, versatile LW/RW.

    – Janmark re-signed, solid 2-way player, versatile C/LW, north-south player, fast.

    – Marty re-signed, keeps solid top4 D corps. Should help G performance.

    Will it be enough? We shall see.

    • Blitz

      I agree Patrick is a high ceiling. I am a fan of what I saw in the highlight vid. I don’t like that migraines can stop him from playing, probably almost randomly. Kind of an outside variable that can bring him down.

      Howden is an ok pickup. Seems like a Nosek replacement and who knows, maybe spark to life and earn a solid role.

      Dadonov is a solid pick up and probably mainly a tuch replacement for the first half, maybe longer if any compilations or if he can’t get back into hockey shape etc. But I don’t like this as the high dollar, save us all, use Fleury’s cap money, guy.

      Janmark, no issues.

      Marty no issues this year (maybe the future if age becomes a thing)

      Personally, I don’t see enough here unless Patrick/Krebs/etc can earn C1 and make the QB spot on the PP better. I like Stephenson just fine, but don’t think he is THE C1. So if someone can’t take that spot from him OR some other magic new scheme on the PP then I don’t see improvement. Plus Dadonov and Patrick don’t seem like improvements defensively. I think goal tending is going to be worse and defense will need to cover or be more sound for Lehner and i am not sure these guys are an improvement, but new coach/team who knows. They will get their chance.

      Not a fan of the cap shuffle we played last year, but don’t doubt we are heading for something similar.

    • sb

      You left out Brossoit. He deserves mentioning. This guy is a solid goaltender. I think he will push Lehner for playing time. Competition is a good thing …….. it did wonders for Fleury in 2021. He had the best year of his career competing with Lehner for the starting job ………. reversing a multi-year decline in his Save Percentage. Competition is a must in professional sports. This is a much better team. Finally some NHL level talent on the 3rd and 4th lines. Bleacher Report has VGK as the 2nd best Team in 2021-22, right behind Tampa.

      • Richard Santomauro

        Brossoit will be the starter by January – write it down.

      • Richard Santomauro

        VGK #2? That’s a complete laugher. The following teams are all better (TBL, NYI, BOS, COL). That puts VGK in about 5th place. This team did NOT get better on paper, it got worse and especially at goal tender when you take into account Lehner’s off ice issues. Tuch being out really hurts that 3rd line and I don’t care who is coming in, on paper that 3rd line will be not as good when the puck is dropped game 1.

        The power play remains broken and we’re back in wonderland over goal tending.

        Now, with that said, the new guys need to fill in and play better than with their previous teams. Peyton Krebs and Logan Thompson need to be developed and this idea that a cup can be bought needs to be put behind the team.

  7. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    We do need to give the new guys a chance to see what they can do. Many times moving to another team, players, system can produce surprising results.

    And Tim, regarding your post ….. what you said is exactly much of the reason I am leaving here in a few weeks.

    • knights fan in minny

      your new site will fail like your buddy dementia joe dont tell us about talking politics i have seen your twitter account your school girl giddy about blunder joe made me puke

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        My twitter account huh? What’s it called? Copy and paste here WHAT I said about “Joe”. You’re really grasping now, “minny the mooch”!

        • knights fan in minny

          you were braging about joe and ripping the best prez ever the don your twitter account was not hard to find pin head

        • knights fan in minny

          your account has the same dumb picture that you have on here other stuff was how you have been playing fantasy football for ever i suppose your an expert on that to

      • Tyler Durden

        Knights fan in manny,
        You’re a fucking clown

    • Tim

      Yes Doc you are so right.

    • knights fan in minny

      were counting the days doc

    • Blitz

      A few weeks? Any way we can expedite that?

    • THE hockey GOD

      where you going ?

      chariot ride with Elijah ?

      you walking with Enoch ?

  8. knights fan in minny

    were counting the days doc

  9. phantom major

    Vgk stanley cup odds on 7-12 = +600

    odds on 8-2= +850

    that says it all about McCrimmon’s bummer summer

  10. Every one look at the bright side and be blinded by the same light that mgt is operating under believing they can buy their way to the CUP. They must have forgot their mission on the last few additions and deletions, or maybe just maybe they have come to realize it can’t be done. The other bright side is DOC is off to somewhere or nowhere who knows and the hockey god is going to live on a boat with no internet connections parking his fleet of MB and Bentleys at the doc. Only in America ain’t life great. No response definitely necessary there is sufficient BS on this site already. October 12, is just around the corner where Vegas fans can get use to the knights loosing. Should prove interesting – I wonder if it will be bad ice, coaching issues. player attitude and what the excuses will be then.

    • THE hockey GOD

      one of your better posts biker dude

      PS newport beach has wifi , it’s not like Gilligan’s Island, and there is parking next to slip on Lido Island. Just on the list waiting for someone to vacate.

    • sb

      Bleacher Report shows VGK’s as the 2nd best Team in the NHL, 2021-22, right behind Tampa. This is a better team. Deeper on the 3rd and 4th lines. Finally some NHL level talent on the bottom 5 forward spots.

      • Sb – is that the same report that said Vegad would win the Cup last year beating out Tampa – just shows how little they know. There is optimism and realism apparently the fantasy world lives on optimism.

        • Daryl

          Wasn’t VGK reported to be favorites two years in a row now…. and both years lost to teams who were not as good

  11. Daryl

    Dadonov – career -17
    Howden – career -29
    Patrick – career -37
    Janmark – career -37 (-12 in first year in VGK)

    Who’s going to play defense while these guys are trying to score???

    • sb

      That’s the likely results when playing on Clubs with poor defense.

      • Daryl

        Yes and no….
        While the Rangers were bad in 17-18, Howden was 2nd to last. The next year, Howden was -11 while they had 7 players in double digits on the positive led by Pararin at +36, Fox +22, Strome +21.

        Dadonov was up and down on the team. One year he was near the top, then near the bottom then in the middle. Mostly playing along the same players.

        Patrick didn’t play on a very good team but last year he still finished dead last at -30. One other player was at -22 but nobody else was even close to him. He is young so it’s possible a change in scenery may change his game.

        Janmark went from a -17 in Chi to a +5 in VGK. He had a good first season at DAL but then was near the bottom the next 3 seasons, and those were good DAL teams. CHI wasn’t very good but he still finished dead last on that team. Even on VGK’s team where almost everyone was positive, including Janmark, he was still near the bottom on the team.

        For the record, I like Janmark and think he fits in good on VGK. Overall, while playing on bad defensive teams plays a role into lower +/-, it doesn’t change that fact that some of these guys finished near the bottom of that stat on those teams

        • Richard Santomauro

          Daryl’s right. There is no doubt that losing Tuch is a big deal. He may not have scored a ton, but every single goal he did was critical and timely. His size and speed combination is unmatched on the team.

          The bottom line is that the team didn’t get better on paper, and these guys will all have to prove themselves.

          So, the jury is out as to whether or not the team really improved or not until next offseason.

  12. sb

    Just listened to Ray Farraro who was involved in a discussion about Jack Eichel. Ferraro said emphatically that a team cannot win the Stanley Cup without a Number 1 center. VGK’s do not have a Number 1 center. Then, according to Ferraro, Vegas will not likely win the Cup w/o a Number center. I believe Ferraro knows what he’s talking about and is correct on this. Ferraro was then asked where is the best fit for Eichel. He didn’t hesitate a second. He said Vegas. The Eichel trade probably comes down to four teams: Anaheim, LA, Vegas and NYR. Eichel wants to play for a contender and he has some say in where he goes. That is not favorable for the Ducks and Kings. Probably comes down to Vegas and NYR.

    • Richard Santomauro

      If I was Eichel I would favor the LAK because their front office isn’t crazy.

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