New York Rangers second line center job up for grabs

Brett Howden, New York Rangers. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Brett Howden, New York Rangers. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New York Rangers
Ryan Strome, Brett Howden, New York Rangers. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Brett Howden

Brett Howden came to the New York Rangers from Tampa Bay during the 2018 trade deadline purge in which J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh departed the Big Apple. The former 2016 Bolts first-round pick made his NHL debut last season.

He appeared in 66 games with the Blueshirts in 2018-19, averaging a hair under 15 minutes of ice time per night. Howden had to have earned some respect from head coach David Quinn to play that much as a 20-year-old rookie.

He was a long shot to make the team out of camp last year but did just that. Don’t count Howden out for this opportunity either even though his competitors have more name appeal. He works hard and has skills.

Although the 6-3 pivot only put up23 points in 2018-19, he was a prolific scorer in the junior ranks. Howden also plays a solid defensive game and might be better suited to third-line duties next year. He could always move up if the situation presents itself.

Ryan Strome

It seems as if Ryan Strome would up in the top six last March, by default, after Kevin Hayes was traded to Winnipeg during the 2019 deadline purge. The Rangers really didn’t have anyone better so they were stuck with him for the remainder of the season. To say Strome’s career to this point has been disappointing, understates his potential.

The New York Rangers were able to get the 2011 fifth overall draft pick (Islanders) from Edmonton six weeks into last season for Ryan Spooner. In six NHL seasons, Strome has scored 195 points (77g, 118a) including 33 in 63 games as a Blueshirts player. Aside from his lack of production, Strome is dreadfull in the faceoff circle, winning just 45.2% of his career draws.