"If Scott Howes is going to take the hard road to the National Hockey League, he'll be skating alongside someone who knows the way.
The former Saint John Sea Dogs sniper has signed a contract with the American League's Manitoba Moose, whose captain is 41-year-old veteran Mike Keane.
Keane, like Howes, was not drafted into major junior, and was passed over again in the NHL draft.
Howes drew plenty of interest from pro teams during a 20-year-old season that saw him lead the Sea Dogs with 43 goals. He added 15 more and a team-high 26 points in the Quebec Major Junior League playoffs. At least half a dozen teams were interested, and his agent Martin Ross said four were "seriously after him."
The five-foot-11, 190-pound forward said he settled on a two-way contract with Manitoba because he believes it's his best opportunity to play at the highest level. The one-year deal, with a team option for a second year, will pay him $40,000 in the AHL, less if he's sent down to the East Coast League. There's also a chance he'll be invited to NHL camp with the Vancouver Canucks, Manitoba's parent team.