Sep 29, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Florida Panthers center Quinton Howden (42) skates against the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Panthers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Center Quinton Howden is a guy who appears to be about ready to play in the NHL full time, having played 18 games with the Panthers in the 2014 season and 16 more last season. He’s posted 75 points in 149 regular-season games with Florida’s AHL team and boasts decent size at 6-foot-2. Howden also rated as the team’s No. 6 prospect in August 2014 in a report by Fox Sports Florida. Howden’s contract is up this year, however, so he’d fall more into the A-level prospect discussion.
Some younger guys to look at could include left wings Juho Lammikko and Connor Brickley, both on entry-level deals with Florida. According to Hockey’s Future, Lammikko currently ranks as the Panthers’ eighth-best prospect, while Brickley checks in at No. 19 (for comparison’s sake, Howden is ranked sixth on this list).
Lammikko just finished his first season in North America, shredding opponents for 44 points and a plus-23 rating in 64 games with the AHL club. Hockey’s Future describes him as a player who can be “an effective two-way forward” and someone with the “willingness and proficiency to shutdown the opposition’s top players.” If this doesn’t scream “Joel Quenneville player,” nothing does. Lammikko checks in at 6-1 but could bear to add a little to his frame at 170 pounds.
Brickley is a big boy at 6-2, 195. He attended his first NHL training camp ahead of the 2014-15 season before tallying 47 points, including 22 goals, in 73 games with Florida’s AHL club last season. More good words appear in Brickley’s Hockey’s Future profile, with the website saying “he plays bigger than his size and is strong on the puck and on his skates.” Again, he sounds like a player Q would get behind.
So Sharp to Florida could have some merit, and there are many pieces for the ’Hawks to look at should they want to send Sharp down South. If the ’Hawks really do want to make a move on Sharp soon, we might see a play at the draft pick. But if that doesn’t get done, the aforementioned prospects could get a look as well.
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