Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Anaheim Ducks

Offseason Work on His Shot Has Paid Off for Fowler

His six goals in 22 games already surpasses his total of last year

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

The way Cam Fowler has performed this season, it's poignant to remember the Ducks came awfully close to losing him just a few months ago.

Anaheim's salary cap issues - combined with contract holdouts by restricted free agents Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell - fueled rampant speculation Fowler would be traded, leading to a somewhat tumultuous summer for the 24-year-old (who turns 25 on December 5).

"I wouldn't say it was tough. It was just weird," says the cerebral Fowler from the comforts of the Ducks locker room at Honda Center. "At the end of the day, all of the stuff that was going on was background noise, and it was out of my control. I was super focused this summer on having a good attitude and trying to concentrate on what I was doing."

It's not the first time Fowler has heard his name mentioned in trade rumors, though he is certainly coveted by the Ducks, the franchise that drafted him in 2010. But he's also highly valued by other NHL teams who would love to bring in his veteran presence on the blueline combined with his spectacular skating and puck-moving ability.

"It's no secret my name has been tossed around for a couple years, and I've dealt with that a little before," Fowler says. "I just tried to stay neutral, and I had the support of family and friends, which helped out a lot. I tried not to let it overcome me with thinking about all that stuff."

Instead, Fowler emphasized a part of his game he thought needed development - his shot.  

"In previous seasons, I was a player who would look to pass first, and I focused a lot this summer on shooting the puck more and finding opportunities where I could get the puck to the net," he says. "It's amazing the good things that happen when you do that and have that mindset."

"It's really nice to see that start to pay off, especially in the beginning of the season," Fowler says. "A lot of that is the work that I put in, but it's also the mindset as well, having confidence in what you can do. When you're confident shooting the puck, good things are gonna happen."

Indeed, Fowler spent countless hours in his hometown of Royal Oak, Michigan with former Washington Capitals forward and skills coach Pat Peake, who has worked with Fowler since the defenseman was a teenager.

The two trained alone on rented ice "on all kinds of different scenarios - on the right side of the ice, on the left, shooting off your back foot, shooting sometimes without even looking at the net, all things that during the season you might not have time to work on," Fowler says. "It was a lot of repetition."

It's clearly been worth it, as Fowler scored six goals (four on the power play) in his first 22 games of the season, already surpassing the five he tallied last season.

"It's really nice to see that start to pay off, especially in the beginning of the season," Fowler says. "A lot of that is the work that I put in, but it's also the mindset as well, having confidence in what you can do. When you're confident shooting the puck, good things are gonna happen."

Fowler is well beyond pace to surpass his career high in goals, the 10 he scored as a teenage rookie in 2010-11. His coach during that season happened to be Randy Carlyle, who was rehired by the Ducks over the summer and mentioned his admiration for Fowler during his introductory press conference. Carlyle recalled being at the draft table at Staples Center in Los Angeles when Fowler was still on the board when it came time for Anaheim to make the 12th pick of the first round.

"The scouts and everyone else at our table were ecstatic. I didn't understand why," Carlyle recalled. "Usually when a guy falls there's some kind of red flag that's attached to him. But when I saw how Cam Fowler was able to have a presence at the NHL level as an 18-year-old, and to watch his development to where he is today, he's a prototype NHL defenseman. He has great qualities. He can skate, move the puck and get involved with the rush. He's a joy to coach."

Fowler credits the confidence Carlyle showed in him from the start with his development and his impactful start to this season.

"Randy gave me my first opportunity in this league as a young defenseman," Fowler says. "He's seen me grow as a player, so he knew my capabilities. I think he's always believed in me as a player, even more sometimes than I would have believed in myself. So it's nice to have the vote of confidence from your head coach. Obviously you're talking about a guy who won a Norris trophy too (in 1981), so he knows the position and that makes a huge difference."

Fowler has come a long way from the teenager who lived with former Ducks great Scott Niedermayer and his family during his rookie season to better get acclimated to NHL life. Now at 25, he's among the elder statesmen of a young Ducks defensive corps, but he takes a Niedermayer-like approach to making his veteran presence known.

"I try and pick and choose my spots a little bit," he says. "I'm not really the rah-rah type of guy, but mostly I try and lead by example, especially on the blue line. [Scotty and I] kind of have similar personalities. He really kept to himself, maybe more so than I do, but for the most part he let his play do his speaking for him."

Fowler has done that in spades this season, maintaining his strengths on the back end while adding that coveted scoring touch.  

"At the end of the day, you can say all you want, you can light a fire underneath guys," Fowler says. "But if you don't go out there and perform yourself, it doesn't mean a whole lot. That's something I've kept in mind over the years."

Video: NYI@ANA: Fowler hands Ducks the lead with early PPG

View More