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Florida Panthers Top 25 Under 25: # 17 Quinton Howden

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As a former first-round pick who has seen his career derailed by injuries, Quinton Howden still has plenty of untapped potential. Will he be able to develop into an NHL caliber player?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Quinton Howden

Position: C/RW

Birthdate: 01/21/1992 (23)

Acquired: 1st round selection (25th overall selection), 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2014-15 Team/League: San Antonio Rampage (AHL)

Stats:

GP G A PTS PIM +/-
33 3 15 18 16 14

Nationality: Canadian

Size: 6'2", 189 pounds

Contract Status: $850,500 AAV (becomes RFA at the end of the 2015-2016 season)

Ever since Dale Tallon made Quinton Howden the 25th overall selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Panthers fans have been enticed by the winger's unique blend of speed, skill, and two-way play. So far, Howden's brief professional career has been marred by injuries, and though he's been in the AHL/NHL for three full seasons, he's only played 183 games (if you figure he could have played 82 games per season, he's missed 63 games).

He missed the start of the 2014-2015 season with an injury, which really hurt his development, as he was supposed to play a significant role with the San Antonio Rampage this season, and put up good point totals in the AHL.

Overall, if you look at Howden's development throughout his career, there's not much to be excited about. It's clear that there was tons of skill at one point, as Howden averaged 1.31 points per game in the WHL the year after he was drafted by the Cats. The youngster seemed to hit a plateau, however, and his numbers dropped to 1.25 the next season, though he did managed a point per game during the World Junior Championships.

Fast forward to his time in the AHL, and it's the same kind of pattern. His first year, he averaged 0.53 points per game. Then, in his second, he only managed 0.46 points per game (though he did managed to score four points in 16 NHL contests).

In 2014-2015, he played 33 games for San Antonio, and managed to put up 18 points (0.55 P/G). That pace is mediocre, to say the least, and definitely doesn't inspire confidence in his abilities.

Howden's two-way play and skating abilities are NHL level, but when it comes down to it, players who only average half a point per game in 150 AHL games simply don't produce in the big league.

I would love to see the 23-year-old earn a roster spot out of training camp, and prove me wrong. He certainly has the skill, and the potential to do so, with his size, speed, and ability to finish.

As he stands right now, however, his lack of actual, on-ice results keeps him from being ranked inside the top 15.

Where We Voted for Howden

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
17 19 19 11 21

Who We Voted 17th

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
Quinton Howden Jonathan Racine Kyle Rau Karch Bachman Ian McCoshen