Anaheim Ducks: Comparing Contributions of 2020 and 2021 Defensemen

Josh Manson #42 and Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
Josh Manson #42 and Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Cam Fowler

As a general rule, Cam Fowler has taken a step back from last season on the offensive end. However, in some respects, last season was an outlier in his career. His 9 goals in 59 games was a career-high pace and his 40-point overall pace would have matched his career-high set in his rookie season.

Nonetheless, Fowler’s goal-scoring has declined by ~44.7% and even an increase in primary and secondary assists can pad his points totals to those of last seasons. Overall, Fowler has seen a ~7.8% decline in scoring.

While points totals aren’t everything, Fowler is notably shooting less (~21.5% fewer shots) and has seen a ~29.4% decline in shooting percentage. It’s not a strong recipe for blue line scoring. Given that Fowler has primarily been paired with Jani Hakanpaa this season, he does not get the excuse that newcomer Kevin Shattenkirk is stealing his shot share.

In fact, Fowler’s unblocked shot attempt numbers have actually climbed by over 10% (~10.9%) from last season. It’s that the number of his shots that are either blocked or simply miss the net has increased.

Potentially, this is a systemic issue that is worth discussing. However, it has been suggested in the past that shots from the point are often blocked contributing to rush attempts heading the other way. We’ve seen numerous rush attempts against the Fowler-Hakanpaa pairing, and perhaps the lack of penetration and accuracy on Fowlers shot is a contributing factor here.

However, with all this negativity there are of course some rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds. Fowler has increased the number of individual scoring chances and high-danger chances he creates by ~31% and ~13% respectively, between this season and last.

On a team that typically struggles to create greasy goals in the blue paint, Fowler has also increased the number of rebounds he has created by ~137%. A clearly massive improvement that may have contributed to his increased assist numbers.

For completeness, Fowler has also cut down on his giveaways by ~31.2% and increased his ability to strip the puck from the opposition by ~20%. From this, we can suggest that his ability to transition the puck from defense to offense is still strong, though this would require zone entry data which is outside the scope of this particular article.