With all the injuries the Ducks have suffered on defense this year — Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa most notably — the team has been forced to rely on 21-year-old Cam Fowler more than ever.
And according to head coach Bruce Boudreau, Fowler has been up to the challenge.
“He’s finally grown up and now he can play defense,” Boudreau told the OC Register. “And I don’t mean that in a negative way.
“We’re putting him out in all defensive situations, whereas in the past it would not be that way.”
Fowler, the club’s first-round pick (12th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, made the leap from junior to the NHL as a 18-year-old and did it with aplomb, scoring 10 goals and 40 points in 76 games in his rookie campaign.
Of course, Fowler also went an ugly minus-25 that year, had poor possession/shot differential statistics (notably Corsi) and wasn’t trusted in a lot of key defensive moments… which isn’t a good thing for a defenseman.
But three years later — despite not turning 22 ’til December, Fowler has over 200 games of NHL experience — he’s matured into a more all-around blueliner, leading all skaters in TOI per game (23:17) and all Ducks defensemen in points (13).
The noted improvement in his game has Fowler thinking of a possible spot on Team USA for the ’14 Winter Olympics in Sochi. American GM David Poile noted recently that he and his advisers have whittled their defenseman shortlist to 12 — one of which is 19-year-old Preds defenseman Seth Jones — so it stands to reason Fowler could be in the mix of 12, especially since Poile said the best players will go, regardless of age.
The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.
Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.
(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)
While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.
The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.
Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out
Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?
Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:
With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.
That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.
Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.
Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith