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Penguins Draft Marchand-like Agitator at 46: Tanner Howe Scouting Report

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Pittsburgh Penguins, 2024 NHL Draft, Tanner Howe

LAS VEGAS — The Pittsburgh Penguins news was flying fast and furious Saturday morning. In a span of a few minutes the Penguins selected Harrison Brunicke with the 44th pick, traded for Kevin Hayes from the St. Louis Blues, and used the 46th overall selection of the 2024 NHL Draft to grab a young Brad Marchand-type player named Tanner Howe.

Howe’s cat-that-ate-the-canary smile said it all.

Also a WHL product like Brunicke, Howe is childhood friends with 2023 Penguins first-round pick Brayden Yager. The pair played against each other in the WHL, and there’s little doubt Howe probably tried to get under Yager’s skin.

“I’m a competitive person. I like that side of the game. Yeah,” Howe said.

Howe was 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard’s linemate with the Regina Pats, and to his credit, his offensive stats didn’t sink into the abyss after Bedard left for the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks. In 2022-23, on Bedard’s wing, Howe netted 36 goals and 85 points. This season, he kept the pace, scoring 28 goals and 76 points in 68 games.

But offense is only part of the package with Howe. The left-winger isn’t large–he’s 5-foot-10, 183 pounds–but he is an impact player. Scouts use words like fiery and “missile on the forecheck.” And Bedard had some praise, and it’s not backhanded.

Bedard told The Athletic, “On the ice, he’s a bit of a prick.”

The short of the analysis is that Howe is a forechecking demon who enjoys the hits, ruffling the opponents’ feathers, getting to the net, and scoring a few goals, too.

It’s an interesting pick. After telling publications pre-draft that he modeled his game after Marchand, he quickly played to the new home crowd, telling the assembled Pittsburgh reporters that he modeled his game after Sidney Crosby.

Sure, kid.

He did it with a straight face, but the devilish smirk soon emerged when talking about his game.

“I think I’m a strong 200-foot center, winger–I think I can play all positions really well,” said Howe. “I think I add depth to our lineup, add scoring touch, I can bury chances, and I play a lot bigger than I am.”

Howe could be a lot of fun for Penguins fans. He doesn’t shy away from the physical play, and it’s not always legal. It’s been a long time since the Penguins deployed a player with a wry grin on his face and malice in his heart. It certainly would make the Penguins tougher to play against.