AJ Manderichio | AnaheimDucks.com
It’s easy to forget Cam Fowler is only 23 years old.
The Ducks defenseman, who completed his fifth season, is often lost in the shuffle when discussing the organization’s young talent. He’s already skated in almost 400 games (combined regular season and postseason) and routinely sits among the top four in time on ice along the blueline.
Paired with Simon Despres – who made quite the impact in his short time with the team – Fowler is ready to cement himself among the team’s top blueliners.
Dipping into advanced stats show the impact the duo had whenever they touched the ice. Together, Fowler and Despres
compiled a 50.8 Corsi-for percentage in 32 games (regular and postseason). This number was only topped by Ben Lovejoy, whose percentage was a mere point higher despite playing with Fowler for 40 games.
Fowler’s impact didn’t stop with Despres. He posted Corsi-for percentages when he’s on the ice with Ryan Getzlaf (54.1%), Corey Perry (52.1%) and Patrick Maroon (56%).
It all points to Fowler’s improved offensive abilities, which continue to develop from season to season.
Consider this: Fowler’s nine goals this season (regular and postseason) were his most since the 2010-11 season, his first year in the league. Yet, he posted a lower PDO (the total of his shooting percentage and save percentage while on the ice) than his rookie campaign. It wasn’t mere luck he posted his highest goal total (7) since his rookie season.
While his offensive ability was never in question, Fowler also continued to improve in his own end. He finished the regular season tied for second in blocked shots (107) and third in takeaways (23).
The playoffs showed yet another step forward for Fowler. He finished tied for second in assists (8) and points (10) while averaging a team-leading 2:29 on the power play. It’s no coincidence he led all blueliners with five power-play points and assists (5).
Coming up short in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final will only provide Fowler the fuel to reach new highs next season.
“This is something I’ll be thinking about for a while,” he said following the loss. “It’s something I’ll use for motivation next year.”
Fowler’s game-tying goal against the San Jose Sharks provided one of the nicest goals – and funniest moments – of the season. Trailing by one with time ticking away in the third period, the Ducks held the puck behind the net. It came to Getzlaf, who drew the attention of three Sharks as he crept above the goal line. Seeing open ice in the slot, Fowler skated down and accepted a perfect pass from the captain. He quickly transitioned from forehand to backhand, leaving Sharks goalie Antti Niemi sprawled helplessly on the ice. Fowler slid the puck into an open net to tie the game.
Afterward, as Fowler went to one knee to celebrate, he lost his balance and rolled along the side boards. He laughed it off after the win.
“It’s probably not one of my better moments, [going] into a barrel roll” he joked. “It was one of those things where the excitement of the goal kind of took over.”