Cam Fowler's overtime gamewinner against Calgary was the biggest goal of the rookie defenseman's career thus far. With a blossoming freshman season where he has already proven that he can handle Top 4 NHL minutes, handle Top 6 NHL forwards and compete with NHL poise, the prospect of him bringing his well-touted offense to the NHL level is tantalizing to say the least.
Arthur, do you think the Ducks will need Fowler's offense down the stretch and do you think the rookie is ready to provide it?
Well, I think they'll need goals from everywhere down the stretch. Beauchemin's shot was a welcome addition, but when you talk about Fowler's skating and his instincts and the possibility of being the offensive force he has been at lower levels at the NHL level-- and to do it THIS year --then you have to say that that's huge.
And I think he can do it. You saw some of that confidence in overtime. You saw what the kid can do with space. You can argue that he tried the same shot twice. Maybe that was from a scouting report, maybe he was comfortable taking what the defender gave him. Either way, neither shot was comfortable for Kiprusoff, and the second earned the Ducks another point in the standings.
We talk "poise" a lot with Cam Fowler. Tonight, he showed it in a big moment in a what's shaping up to be a tight playoff race at the highest level of the game. I don't see why it'll be hard for him to find the back of the net on a regular basis the rest of the way.
When Fowler went to the backhand on that second rush, there was a split second where I couldn't believe the kid was going to make the same move twice on a guy who's won the Vezina. The puck tickled the twine, and I jumped out of my seat.
I think the Ducks are really going to need Fowler's offense down the stretch. The biggest, if not only, offensive threat on the back end is Visnovsky. There's no denying how valuable he's been, but offense from the blueline keeps defensive wingers honest and opens up space down low. Being able to roll another defender who can dart in and out of the play and contribute offense will allow the Ducks to keep pressure on teams when they trail in games. As you've already stated, the Ducks will need offense from everywhere, but I think defensive scoring has been a problem for us all season. Fowler should be able to provide that down the stretch.
Without reiterating your points, I'd like to say that Fowler needs to shoot to the top 5 in the Calder race. I know Couture is having a phenomenal season, but Fowler's shouldn't be ignored. He leads all rookies in TOI and power play scoring. He's the top scoring rookie defenseman and 9th in overall rookie scoring. His only blemish is that -13. However, it's been on a steady decline. At this point, anyone who thinks Cam Fowler isn't at least a Calder finalist isn't paying attention.