The Tampa Bay Lightning's long day, immersed in speculation and chatter, ends with the #27 overall selection of the 1st round in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft being Brett Howden, a 6'2", left handed center who plays for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.
Through the day, the Bolts had been tied to speculative chatter with regards to various players on the roster, but it came up most prominently in the afternoon with talk of the Calgary Flames and goaltender Ben Bishop. The Flames got the permission to speak to Bishop, but when they heard the netminder wanted a new contract that paid $7 million a year over 7 years, they went in a different direction. Bishop's name was also tied to the Dallas Stars, though that speculation played out mostly during the draft itself.
No deal went down, though, no picks acquired and the Lightning did not trade down. They held their place and selected Howden.
Howden becomes the latest Lightning prospect to be a key member of the Moose Jaw Warriors; Braydon Point has been playing with Moose Jaw for the past four seasons, having been selected by the Lightning in the 3rd round of the 2014 NHL draft.
From SB Nation College Hockey:
Howden is a hard worker that makes a ton of plays on both the offensive and defensive end through sheer effort and grittiness. In this clip below, he makes a nice pass catch at the blue line, feeds a teammate, then drives hard to the net and is rewarded with a rebound putback goal.
Howden's style of play is a rare combination of good size, skill and the skating and intelligence to play the center position. He's a really versatile player that could potentially be used in any situation.
Mind you, the critique on Howden goes further and touches on aspects that aren't very positive for him (such as lacking elite skill and a poor east-west game). Click through for the full scouting report.
Knowing the Bolts development cycle and how it is a long process for prospects, there should be plenty of time for Howden to hone his game and improve his game before graduating to the pro level by way of the AHL in two years (unless circumstances provide opportunity sooner).