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From The Press Box


From The Press Box is a weekly column written by FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

Have a question for Alain? Be sure to ask him through twitter @apoupartFins.


The Mighty Quin

Quinton Howden, Panthers’ speedy prospect is making a quick impression after getting his first call-up of the season

Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 4:30 PM / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Mighty Quin
Quinton Howden, Panthers\u2019 speedy prospect is making a quick impression after getting his first call-up of the season.

“Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn”
   
-Bob Dylan, “The Mighty Quinn”

Forward Quinton Howden celebrates his first NHL goal after scoring in Tampa Bay on March 13. (Getty Images)

So Quinton Howden isn’t going to score every single game this year.

It sure may have seemed that way after he scored in Tampa Bay in his very first NHL game of the season and then did it again back home in Sunrise against the New Jersey Devils the very next night.

In his third game, Howden didn’t make it on to the goal sheet but did extend his point streak as he picked up an assist against the Canucks. We won’t hold his point-per-game pace against him if you won’t.

It was quite a contrast from last year when Howden failed to score in 18 games after getting a late-season call-up. And while he is finding the net much more easily this year, we’re seeing the same skills we saw at the end of last season.

They’re the skills that should keep Howden in the NHL for a long time.

Put quite simply, the kid from Winnipeg can fly.

His speed was on display late last season and he certainly hasn’t slowed down. But with a Cats lineup now stacked with big-time playmakers, that speed can now be leveraged to achieve big-time results.

The Panthers are drowning in riches down the middle with the likes of Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Drew Shore, Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri. With a speedy winger like Howden adding to a core of flankers that includes Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Bergenheim, Jimmy Hayes and Brad Boyes, the Panthers all of a sudden have the much-needed depth that is a prerequisite for going far in today’s NHL, and getting there fast.

Howden was the third of three Panthers first round picks in 2010 after Erik Gudbranson and Bjugstad. And while Howden may have taken a little bit longer to emerge as an everyday NHL player, it appears to have been well worth the wait.

Howden is one of many young faces we’re seeing in the Panthers lineup these days as the injury bug continues to flare up.

The positive side to the injury issue is that some of the young prospects are gaining valuable NHL experience, something that could only benefit them in the long run. It’s also fun for the fans of the team to catch a glimpse of the future.

It wasn’t just Howden who followed his first NHL goal with another the very next game. Trocheck did that as well, following up his empty-netter against New Jersey with a nifty wrap-around against Vancouver on Sunday afternoon. And with increased ice-time and power-play minutes, young Jimmy Hayes has also taken full advantage, notching four goals in his last five games.

As for Howden, it appears pretty evident is that while he might not have received the attention of some of the other Panthers prospects in the past, he should be watched closely going forward. Put another way, this is one speedster worth keeping up with.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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