Jared Cowen has not played in a professional hockey game since February of 2016, just before he was traded by the Ottawa Senators to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade.
Cowen, a top-10 pick in the 2009 NHL draft, never played in a game for the Maple Leafs organization and was involved in a complex arbitration case with the team after the team bought him out. The Maple Leafs executed the buyout in an effort to create additional salary cap space, a move that Cowen challenged on the grounds that he was injured and it was against league rules for the Maple Leafs to buy out his contract.
Cowen lost the case (and $3 million) and became a free agent, finally landing with the Colorado Avalanche this summer on a tryout contract in the hopes of resurrecting his once promising career.
On Friday, he spoke with Adrian Dater of BSNDenver and was extremely critical of the process with the Maple Leafs.
“Basically, they got me, figured out that I was hurt, they didn’t want to deal with it and they got rid of me.”
“It was a joke of a process,” Cowen said. “But, it’s in the past. It was a stressful time in my life, in terms of getting traded, getting bought out, getting waived, finding out I needed surgeries.”
Obviously, his time in Toronto was not a very pleasant experience for him.
Now he is getting an opportunity to crack an Avalanche lineup that is desperate for help on the blue line.
When it comes to finding a spot that would give him a chance to make an NHL roster, Colorado was probably the best possible landing spot for him.
The Avalanche have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL for a couple of years now and still have a defense that looks to be woefully undermanned on paper. Even after finally signing restricted free agent Nikita Zadorov they only have four NHL defensemen under contract for the 2016-17 season. Five if you include prospect Andrei Mironov. So there is obviously a spot to be had if he can impress in training camp and the preseason.
Prior to the injury that sidelined him in 2016 Cowen had appeared in 249 NHL games — all with the Senators — and scored 15 goals to go with 31 assists.