Easton Cowan is an extremely awesome player. I've had a lot of fun watching him explode in the OHL, and by the amount of engagement I've been getting when tweeting highlights of his I can tell the rest of Toronto's fandom has as well.

So nuts to the flowery introduction, let's get into the good stuff and talk about just how awesome Cowan has been.


The Knights as a whole have been on a hell of a heater. They'd won 14 straight games by a combined score of 89-27 (average would be 7-2) before losing two straight shootouts over the weekend. They've faced some of the top teams in the OHL in this time, like Kitchener and Saginaw, and dominated them.

While they've had a lot of players on their team playing great, Cowan has been one of the leaders. He missed some of their games due to the World Juniors, but he is on a personal 13 game point streak where he's put up 11 goals and 18 assists. He is now the OHL leader in points per game at 1.84. In total, he now has 57 points in 31 games – good for 12th in the league regardless of age or games played.

The secret to Cowan's production is that he just gets it done in all situations, where he is heavily used. He has the 2nd highest rate of powerplay points per game, and the most short handed points (and per game) as well. Since returning from the WJC, he's settled in on playing on the "second" line with 2024 draft prospect Sam O'Reilly and a rotating cast of other wingers. He also plays with O'Reilly frequently on the penalty kill, but on the top powerplay unit.

So there is some element of Cowan's points that could be seen as unsustainable. A lot of his powerplay production are secondary assists, where he plays the Marner role distributing from the point – he'll make the first pass that sets up a shot/rebound, or starts a quick series of passes down low and into the slot. While scoring or setting up a short handed goal once in every three games is exceptional, that's not production I would count on at higher levels.

On the other hand, it's not like Cowan is a points-only guy. He gets his points because he earns them, even if they're secondary assists. He does all the things that helps his team create and capitalize on scoring chances. This is something you can see when you watch him play, but it also shows up in his tracking data where he profiles as one of the OHL's top forwards.

From Mitch Brown's CHL tracking data: https://www.patreon.com/user/posts?u=13951676

One comment I get occasionally when posting gifs of Cowan on Twitter, is something either sarcastic or genuinely lamenting the fact that he did not "show up" at the World Juniors. I guess 2 points in 5 games is not enough for people, but as always I stress keeping context in mind. Cowan was a D+1 player, which is "young" for the tournament – most countries bring mostly D+2 age players. Second, he was not really played in a significant role, in terms of his even strength or powerplay time.

Third, for his usage he actually played pretty damn well. But points aren't as easy to come by when you're playing the very best of the top hockey countries in the world, especially when you're not given a top role. But for what he had been asked to do, he did it pretty well. He just didn't have gaudy points in a five game stretch playing a limited role against the best players of his age group in the world. But he more than held his own.

From Mitch Brown and Lassi Alanen's WJC tracking project: https://www.patreon.com/user/posts?u=13951676


There isn't really much new to say that I haven't said in my deep dive about him before this season started, or in my previous prospect report on Cowan.

Maple Leafs Prospect Report: Easton Cowan
After Easton Cowan has played in 10 OHL games so far this season, it’s time to check in on how he’s been doing and how he’s improved.

There are his usual standout skills: he's utterly tenacious and dogged in everything he does. He forechecks hard, skates hard, and he engages physically but in clever ways to get leverage so he can fight through contact. He's very smart and anticipates play well. That has always been the case with Cowan.

What we've started to see is two important improvements: his skill and his skating. He was always good at getting 'greasy' points by working hard and getting the puck to dangerous areas. But this year, his skill is coming through more and more. He's always been a good passer, but he's gotten even better. The area where I've noticed him improve the most, however, is with how he handles the puck. Before he relied a lot on the simple plays and using his work ethic to create opportunities. Now, he still does that but he is now relying on his skill to take him even further and make him even more dangerous.

This play exemplifies everything he does well more than any other this year.

Cowan skates hard and beats the defense to a loose puck and outmuscles him to come away with it clean – that's his World Juniors teammate Jorian Donovan by the way, so no scrub. He skates it around the net, with his head up and scanning the ice to look at his options. What he sees is a mob of people in front of the net, and no one challenging him, so he takes the ice available to him and carries it right into the slot. Someone finally comes out to defend him, and Cowan sells a shot but pulls it back and around to give him a clear shot at a new angle, and beats the goalie clean with a wicked wrist shot. Speed, physicality, vision, dangles, and shot all put together in one highlight reel play.

This is another good example.

Carrying it through the neutral zone and entering the offensive zone with control, makes a move to beat the initial defender and draws more opponents to him. Makes a nice pass to a teammate that's all alone with at worst a good chance to shoot it from a dangerous position. Goes to the net, beating the other defenders, and presents a passing option for an easy tap in. Elusive skating and puck handling. Passing. Tenacious fighting through checks.

The other area where he's made a big improvement is his skating. He was always pretty fast and agile, but it's at a whole new level this year. You can see it in some of the highlights above – he is not only very shifty and maneuverable to evade defenders, but he has added a new level of explosiveness and top speed when he needs/wants to just blow by everyone else.

In short, Cowan is becoming a complete player. His defense at times can still lack effectiveness, but that's also gotten better over the season. Earlier in the year the game was very high event while he was on the ice – but for both teams. Since then, and especially during his hot stretch, it's still high event but almost entirely for his own team.

And Cowan has always been a great penalty killer, in the "power kill" kind of way that we love about Marner. He leads the league in short handed points, and honestly he's had plenty of chances that could have turned into more points – it's not like he's just gotten lucky.

So what does this all mean for Cowan's future? Does this mean he could be like Minten and be given a shot at cracking the NHL roster next season? I would not have guessed that going into this season, but he has quite frankly shattered my expectations for how I thought his season would go. He's turning into a dominant force in every element of play in junior, and while that doesn't mean he is guaranteed to be a effective NHLer next year the fact that he's come this far this fast is a great sign for his future.

The question is how good can he be in the long run? I'm at the stage where I know I'm holding myself back on declaring him to be something in the future. I've been in the same place with Knies and Grebyonkin in the past, and I'm still not ready to completely overcome any doubt of Cowan. I am damn sure he'll be an NHLer in some capacity, the question is if he'll top out as a Nick Robertson, an Alex Kerfoot, or a Zach Hyman. That is what I see as his potential range of outcomes, as of now.