The Anaheim Ducks have set their course, and it’s full speed ahead for a retool next season. What does this mean for the future of their players?
Bob Murray, in recent statements following the trade of Brandon Montour, mentioned that the Ducks are in a retool. They are trying to get younger, faster and return this team to the prestige that he, the fans, and the owners have grown accustomed to. Over the next few weeks, we will be breaking down where some of the players on the Anaheim Ducks stand in terms of that re-tool. Some will be part of the core, some will be likely trade pieces, and some will be question marks.
Now that we’ve covered both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, let’s cover the 3rd longest tenured Duck, Cam Fowler. The 27-year-old Fowler is currently in his 9th NHL season, all spent with the Ducks. Fowler was selected 12th overall by the Ducks during the 2010 NHL entry draft. Fowler inexplicably fell to the Ducks after being projected to be a top 5-10 pick and the Ducks reaped the rewards. Fowler has played over 600 games for the Ducks and another 62 in the playoffs and has become a mainstay in the Ducks top 4, even considered the heir-apparent to Ryan Getzlaf as the next captain of the team.
In his 9 years with the Ducks, Fowler has made a major name for himself in Anaheim, likely carving out a spot on the Ducks “Mt. Rushmore” of defensemen. The 27-year-old recently passed Ruslan Salei for most games played in franchise history for defensemen, and passed legend Scott Niedermayer for the franchise lead in both assists and points, and is only 4 goals away from passing the recently honored Niedermayer for the franchise lead in goals.
His time developing into a top 4 defenseman hasn’t come without hiccups though as Murray has openly admitted that the franchise rushed Fowler into a position he may not have been ready for, which likely ultimately stunted his development. Despite that, Fowler has become a very successful NHL player, albeit a polarizing one as fans seems to either love him or hate him, citing his lack of defensive awareness as the main reason why.
Once the re-tool was announced and Murray mentioned that some mid-20’s players weren’t taking the next steps they anticipated to be leaders for the team, fans speculated away that he was referring to Fowler and that Fowler would be one of the casualties to the “major surgery” that Murray would be performing on the Ducks roster. I subscribed to this notion myself, thinking that Fowler would be one of the more likely players to be shipped out as he was one of the only players the Ducks could move and acquire a significant asset in return.
The trade of Brandon Montour threw a bit of water on that fire, but at the same time, it did open up some speculation that Fowler was still the odd-man out, seeing as the Ducks have an abundance of left-handed defensemen, and acquired another one in the trade for Brandon Montour. Since then, however, Fowler has been deployed on the right side as opposed to the left where he’s spent the lion’s share of his career and has looked quite good. Showing a more mature style of game, potentially due to the unfamiliarity of the side he’s playing leading him to be more hesitant and less spontaneous.
Fowler’s currently in the first year of an 8 year contract that sees him paid $6.5M a year. At 27 years of age that contract will go through the remainder of his prime, and into his mid 30’s. Right now it’s a fairly good contract, but will the Ducks look to move Fowler to avoid another situation of having a player signed into his mid 30’s for fear of having another Ryan Kesler or Corey Perry situation?
If you asked me before the trade deadline, I would have been very confident that Fowler was likely to be moved. He seemed like the one that Murray was calling out earlier in the season and being the 2nd oldest, and most expensive defensemen out of the top 4 for the Ducks, seemed like the odd one out. However, after trading Brandon Montour, I question if maybe Montour was the player Murray was referring to, as he has yet to really take the next step to solidify himself as a top 4 D-man in the NHL.
Fowler’s contract includes a 4 team trade clause limiting the options to which he can be traded, and if he continues this resurgence by playing on the right side, particularly with the chemistry that he had in his brief stint with Brendan Guhle prior to his injury, I think Fowler could be a core piece of this team’s future.
I predict Fowler will be a part of this team for the foreseeable future, unless Murray gets a truly massive overpayment of an offer, or Fowler asks for a trade.
Confidence in Prediction: 8/10
What do you think about Cam Fowler’s future in Anaheim? Do you think Bob Murray still views him as a cornerstone piece or has that ship sailed? Let us know in the description down below!