Ditto for Cam Fowler.
“It’s been an interesting week or so, that’s for sure,” the 24-year-old Ducks defenseman told ESPN.com yesterday. “You hear your name tossed out there. I’ve heard that before even at recent trade deadlines, but this time with the position the Ducks are in and some of the salaries, it just seemed like it was pretty real. I was 100 percent prepared for something to happen. And was honestly pretty surprised when it didn’t.”
Fowler went on to say that he loved playing in Anaheim, but he acknowledged that the hands of his general manager, Bob Murray, are “tied a little bit with what he needs to do.”
Indeed, Murray is in a tough spot, particularly with the expansion draft on the horizon. On the back end, the Ducks will almost certainly protect Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, while Kevin Bieksa has a no-movement clause which he’d need to waive in order to be exposed. Even beyond those three, Anaheim’s got 24-year-old Simon Despres locked up through 2020-21 for an affordable cap hit of $3.7 million.
Fowler, meanwhile, is only signed for two more years, after which he’ll be due a big raise in unrestricted free agency. With 20-year-old Shea Theodore in the system, Fowler’s highest value for the Ducks may be in a trade.
The Montreal Canadiens have reportedly been “among the most interested” in Fowler, and that makes sense with Andrei Markov getting close to retirement. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings could be suitors as well. The Buffalo Sabres were also believed to be interested, but their interest may have waned after they got Dmitry Kulikov from Florida.
With Shattenkirk, Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba all potentially in play, it may take one domino to fall before they all start falling.
As Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said the other day, “Whenever there’s a deadline, things loosen up. The next one is July 1.”