When Cam Fowler fell to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft it was a dream come true. Fowler’s offensive abilities were clearly seen in his rookie season with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. He put up an impressive 55 points in 55 games, and had a plus-minus of 38.
He was ranked as high as the third best North American skater in central scouting, but he fell to fifth because his defensive game was still questionable. He was criticized for not battling hard in his own end and being a little on the soft side. With Scott Niedermayer retiring at the end on the 2009-2010 season the Ducks couldn’t believe a player seemingly in the mold of Niedermayer dropped to them with the 12th pick.
Fast-forward to Cam’s rookie season in 2010-2011 and once again his offensive prowess and top-level skating abilities shone through. He managed to put up 40 points in 70 games in his rookie season with Anaheim. However, his defensive game was still criticized. He finished with a lackluster plus-minus of -25 and it was evident that he could easily be knocked off the puck.
Fowler’s sophomore season saw his offensive numbers drop and he struggled again in the defensive side of the game. Cam Fowler played a whole 82 game season and only managed to put up 29 points, with a plus-minus of – 28. Although the Ducks struggled as a team that season it was obvious to see that Fowler still had some work to do in regards to his defensive abilities.
After another season which saw Fowler continue to struggle, it was about time for a breakout season in both zones for Cam Fowler.
The 2013-2014 season was a turning point for Cam Fowler. He was not only playing well offensively but also was learning to contribute defensively as well. Fowler attributed his success to the new responsibility put on him by coach Bruce Boudreau stating; “I think Bruce wanted to put a little more responsibility on me. It’s really helped me complete my game into an overall defenseman.”
By the end of the season Fowler’s numbers showed the work he had put in to become a more complete defenseman. He finished with 36 points in 70 games and had a plus-minus of 15.
To get to the question, there is no doubt in my mind Cam Fowler can become an Elite defenseman in the NHL. If he continues to work on his defensive game and take on some more responsibility offensively than he can easily fill the mold left behind by Scott Niedermayer and become one of the top 10 blueliners in the NHL.
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