Anaheim Ducks Cam Fowler Out 2-6 Weeks. What Happens Now?

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 30: Cam Fowler
ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 30: Cam Fowler /

Yesterday, the Anaheim Ducks announced defenseman Cam Fowler will be out of action anywhere from two to six weeks. What will the Ducks do without one of their best players?

It’s not the end of the world. The Anaheim Ducks have won some games when he was previously out of the lineup. Fowler, however, could miss anywhere from the first week of the playoffs to the end of the season (depending on how long that is).

There are three games left in the Ducks season. They have two and a half options to work with as Fowler replacements, Korbinian Holzer, Andy Welinski, and a soon to return Kevin Bieksa. Coach Randy Carlyle should use this time for auditions.

Option 1/2 C – Bieksa

Back on March 16, Kevin Bieksa left the Anaheim Ducks to have scar tissue removed from his left hand. His original prognosis had him missing two to five weeks. Three weeks later, Bieksa should be on the verge of a return.

Bieksa is the most known of the three choices. He plays a hard-hitting, physical game. Lack of effort is never going to be an issue with Bieksa. The question with him is; “Even at 100%, does Bieksa have enough in the tank at 36 to be effective?

As we’ve seen this season, the answer is sort of. Short term against the right match-up, yes. That comes with a caveat. Bieksa and Francois Beauchemin can’t be in the lineup at the same time. They are both too slow. Alternate Bieksa and Beauchemin and you have a decent platoon.

Option B – Holzer

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Korbinian Holzer is also a known commodity. What we know is, at best Holzer is at best a stopgap defenseman. Need to use him in a pinch for a game, maybe two, great. Anything more? No way. He isn’t good enough to be depended on for any significant length of time.

Option A -Welinski

Here is the virtually unknown. By all accounts, Welinski played well during his four-game, nine-day stint with the Anaheim Ducks in December. He had a pair of assists, five blocks, and was plus one. Additionally, he averaged just under 16:40 of ice time. At 6’1”, 205, Welinski has good size, he skates well and can handle the puck.

Welinski has two things working against him if he is to move into the Ducks lineup. First, defense isn’t the strongest part of his game. Second, if he does play, the total amount of NHL games played by him, Marcus Pettersson and Brandon Montour is 127, and Montour is responsible for 104 of them. For a coach who isn’t known for being “rookie friendly,” it’s a mouthful for Carlyle to swallow.

What to Do

Holzer shouldn’t be an option to replace Fowler long term, but it’s understandable if he plays tonight. Experience shows that Bieksa and Beauchemin in the lineup at the same time doesn’t work. That leaves Welinski. He has the ability. Why not see how well he fits in after a few games and then make a decision?

Next: Anaheim Ducks Three Stars of the Week (March 26-April 1)

At that point the pairings should be: