WINNIPEG —; With the hockey season concluded, players like Oakbank’s Quinton Howden have returned home for the summer.
The Florida Panthers forward was teaching some hockey skills at Garth Brooks’ ball hockey camp over the weekend.
Howden, 24, is coming off his first full season in the NHL after jumping between the Panthers and the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage over his first three seasons as a professional. He played a career high 58 NHL games last season and scored six goals and five assists.
“It was a good season, it really was,” said Howden. “Just to be around guys like Lu (Roberto Luongo) and Jags (Jaromir Jagr) and stuff and the things I learned from them I’ll never forget.”
But after seeing between nine and 13 minutes of ice time on most nights in the regular season, Howden found himself as a healthy scratch for all six of the Panthers playoff games.
“Obviously everyone wants to play,” Howden said. “That’s the nature of playing this game, but that’s the way it goes. We had a good team out there.”
Howden will soon become a restricted free agent when his contract expires next month. While there has been some talk he won’t be back in Florida, Howden still hopes to get a deal done to remain a Panther. He was asked if he think’s he’ll be back.
“I mean I’d love to be,” said Howden. “Like I said that’s up to the agents and the G.M.’s to discuss but how can you not love Florida, so I’d love to be back there.”
Another Howden will be grabbing all the attention this week with his little brother Brett expected to be either a late first or second round selection in this week’s NHL Draft.
“He was nervous earlier,” said Howden. “I think now that the combine’s done, I told him everything is out of your hands now so I think he’s calmed down a bit. He got his suit for the draft yesterday so I think now he’s got the jitters to go there.”