ANAHEIM CA - OCTOBER 13: Cam Fowler #54 of the Anaheim Ducks takes the ice against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center on October 13 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
After the 2009-2010 season, long-time Duck captain Scott Niedermayer retired. And when potential top-5 pick Cam Fowler fell to the Ducks at 12 in the 2010 draft, it was one of those rare moments in hockey when a team can draft for present need, with the end of one career so clearly giving way to the beginning of another. Fowler, the then 18 year old defenseman, was often compared to Niedermayer for his skating ability and cited Niedermayer as his favorite NHL player. Fowler immediately moved into the Ducks lineup and into the Anaheim home of his personal instructor...Scott Niedermayer.
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What Fowler has of his tutor's physical tools, however, he still lacks in experience and defensive accumen. The Ducks are a poor defensive team and Fowler is an overmatched second-pairing player that the Predators must exploit. He's an impressive offensive player, tallying 40 points in his rookie season. To score 40 and be -25, however, takes a special set of circumstances--Fowler scored over 50% of his points on the power play and struggles 5v5.
Randy Carlyle uses Fowler much in the same way Trotz uses Jonathon Blum: on the second defense pairing, the power play, and many offensive zone draws. Fowler has great potential, but right now he's a player the Ducks will want to hide, not highlight in certain situations, and those are the exact moments the Preds must sieze. Look for Mike Fisher's physical forecheck to target the somewhat undersized Fowler.