Isaac Howard – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Isaac Howard

2021-22 Team: USNTDP Juniors
Date of Birth: March 30, 2004
Place of Birth: Hudson, WI, USA
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 183 pounds
Shoots: L
Position: LW
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

Isaac Howard is an offensively gifted forward, a natural scorer who is developing into an excellent playmaker as well. He scored 54 goals in 91 games spread over two seasons with United States National Team Development Program Juniors, but his 71 assists have earned him a reputation for being a versatile player who can both score and set up plays. Howard has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the 2022-23 season.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Howard has the luxury of being born in an era when size is less important than it was a decade ago. Despite his 5-foot-10 stature, he plays a big man’s game, never shying away from the gritty and dirty areas. He has a nose for the net and, with his speed and wrist shot, knows where to put the puck.

While early reports have showcased his ability to score goals, Howard has developed his all-around game to become a more complete player. He has an uncanny ability to find teammates in high-danger areas and delivers quick and precise passes that find them more often than not. Combined with the USDP and USHL this season, Howard has amassed 45 assists in 57 games, highlighting how versatile and threatening he can be when the puck is on his stick.

Isaac Howard USNTDP
Isaac Howard, USNTDP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

The defensive side of his game is nothing to scoff at either. Positionally, Howard often positions himself to take away the passing lane while also leaving himself open for a breakout attempt. He’s active with his stick and can identify and read plays with quick and decisive thinking. Howard tends to look for players higher up the defensive zone when attempting to start a rush play, and his transition in the neutral zone leads him to look for open areas to receive a pass upon entry into the offensive zone.

Howard is fully capable of putting all the pieces together and becoming an effective player at the NHL level. His mixture of skating, accurate shot, and competitive nature make him a player that teams will target. While his trajectory predicts a few years before he makes a real impact, Howard possesses the tools that are a strong indication he’ll get there one day.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Isaac Howard – NHL Draft Projection

Howard is projected to go anywhere between 10th overall to a mid-to-late first-round pick. His offensive abilities alone make him a strong candidate to go in the mid-round, but his size may be something teams take into consideration. Through no fault of his own, Howard is also one of several USNTDP players projected to go in the first round, which may cause some scouts to believe his results are a product of an excellent hockey program.

Quotables

“Isaac Howard is one of my favorite prospects in the 2022 class. He’s a pure goalscoring talent on the wing that can deceive goalies with his release, but he’s shown that he can be more of a playmaker early on this season, making him a multi-tooled offensive weapon.” – Austin Broad, FC Hockey

“Routinely, Howard keeps an excellent eye on the puck and aligns his positioning to where the puck is. In addition, he has the speed with his crossovers to keep quality pace with his puck-carrying attackers. His vision and speed complement each other nicely as he is always on the move, attentive and puts himself in a position where he can be impactful.” – JoshTessler, Smaht Scouting

“Howard has a natural instinct for scoring, moving to soft areas on the weak side of the offensive zone without the puck and finding ways to gain to the middle lane off the rush. He’s a deceptive shooter, changing the angle on goalies before ripping pucks home. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth but will likely play another year with the NTDP before he ships off.” – Joey Padmanabhan, EP Rinkside

Strengths

  • Goal-scoring instinct
  • Accurate and heavy wrist shot
  • Skating
  • Playmaking

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Transitional player and prioritizing leading the rush
  • Making smarter passes

NHL Potential

Howard’s ability to score goals on every stage he’s played should warrant him significant interest. In recent memory, the Montreal Canadiens’ 2019 first-round selection, Cole Caufield, is one of the best picks of that round in value alone, and Howard may follow a similar path. With time to develop and a strong hockey program to help him adjust, Howard can become a viable top-six forward.

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk- 3/5, Reward 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 9/10, Defense 6/10

Awards/ Achievements

Since joining the USNTDP Juniors, Howard has been one of the top-scoring players on the team. His ability to score goals was on full display at the Youth Olympic Games in 2020, leading Team USA to a silver medal, with seven goals in four games. He finished second in scoring last season with the USNTDP Juniors and is currently in the same spot this year, behind forward Frank Nazar. In 91 games over the last two seasons, Howard has scored 54 goals and 125 points.

Isaac Howard Statistics

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