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Top prospect Cowen out for season

by Adam Kimelman
Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Cowen, the seventh-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings, will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining ligament damage to his right knee.

Cowen sprained the medial collateral ligament while finishing a check in a game against the Chilliwack Bruins on Jan. 30 and sustained a high-grade injury to his anterior cruciate ligament. He is expected to have reconstructive surgery within the next three weeks. Recovery from the injury is expected to take about five months, meaning he should be ready for the start of NHL training camps in September.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder had 7 goals, 21 points and a plus-15 rating in 48 games this season. In November he was ranked as the No. 1 skater in the Western Hockey League, and in the midterm rankings was the No. 2 defenseman among North American skaters, one spot behind Simon Despres of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

One of 40 top prospects invited to the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game last month, Cowen had a pair of assists and finished a plus-2, and was third in the hardest-shot competition at the skills contest.

Last season, his first in the WHL, Cowen had 18 points in 68 games, and his plus-27 led all WHL rookie defensemen as Spokane won the league title and the Memorial Cup. His empty-net goal in the championship game against Kitchener iced the victory for the Chiefs.

This will be the first time in his WHL career Cowen has missed time due to injury. He had played in 153 of 158 games, missing four games last season for the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge and one game this season to attend the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game.

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