|“He’s been phenomenal,” said Sutton of Fowler. “What a tremendous amount of poise for a young player. He doesn’t try to be too flashy out there, which I think is definitely helping. I really like what I see so far.” |
Normally ID checks are used to see if someone is too young, but in the case of Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler
, there might need to be verification he is not in fact 10 years older.
Besides his December 6, 1991 birthdate and boyish face, nothing through Fowler’s first NHL training camp suggests he’s just 18 years old.
In the last week, other Anaheim prospects have been sent to either the American Hockey League or their junior teams. Fowler has remained, sticking it out among the 30 players (10 defensemen) still with the Ducks. He has logged over 22 minutes of ice time in each of the three preseason games he has played, including a team-high 25:08 at Vancouver.
“He’s been phenomenal,” said 12-year-veteran Andy Sutton, who has been paired on defense at times with Fowler in training camp. “What a tremendous amount of poise for a young player. He doesn’t try to be too flashy out there, which I think is definitely helping. He tries to make solid plays. He’s a great skater and is in good body position all the time. I really like what I see so far.”
There was a reason the Ducks table at the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles was overjoyed when Fowler, a top-five pick according to most prognosticators, fell in their laps with the 12th overall selection. But even with the most highly touted prospects, there still is a learning curve when it comes to the pace of the NHL game. The same applies to Fowler, but by all accounts he is adjusting ahead of the normal rate.
“With Cam, the less you notice him, the more effective he is,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “What usually separates younger players is the major mistake, gaffe or turnover. It happens during a scrimmage or a game and you say, ‘Oh geez, he’s only 18 years old.’ We haven’t had many of those with Cam Fowler
While sharing a locker room with, and playing against, grown men he has long admired, you could understand if Fowler was intimated by his surroundings. But just as much as with his skating ability, his ability to stay even-keeled has him on the doorstep of being on the ice when the season opens October 8 in Detroit.
|“I just try to take it day by day,” Fowler said. “Today I’m not thinking about where I am going to be tomorrow and so forth. I came to the rink today just ready to work. I want to make sure I don’t have any regrets. I have to leave everything out there. If it doesn’t work out, then I know that I put my best effort forward. That is all I can ask for.” |
“Poise has been a big part of my game ever since I was growing up,” Fowler said. “I can’t put my finger on it. Some players just have certain gifts that come naturally to them. That is one of things that you can’t really practice. I’m just blessed to be able to control things out there. For a defenseman, it’s huge. You have to be able to see the whole ice and know where people are. I’m glad the coaching staff is happy with that part of my game.”
Ice time is the ultimate tool for a coach, who can supply players with as much or as little as he sees fit. Right now, Carlyle is getting a very good look at what Fowler can bring to a revamped Ducks blue line. Along with the high average in minutes, he has played three out of the four preseason contests, including the back-to-back at Honda Center last week.
“I like to look at that as a good sign,” Fowler said. “I’m one of those players who tries to thrive off of those minutes. Part of that is being fortunate enough to get some power play time. I think that it’s great the coaches have confidence in me in that regard. It’s been awesome to play against some of these players and get the minutes I’ve been getting.”
As the days get closer to a decision on if his NHL dream will come to fruition this season, the 6-1, 190-pound Fowler maintains his composure.
“I just try to take it day by day,” Fowler said. “Today I’m not thinking about where I am going to be tomorrow and so forth. I came to the rink today just ready to work. I want to make sure I don’t have any regrets. I have to leave everything out there. If it doesn’t work out, then I know that I put my best effort forward. That is all I can ask for.”