Ducks Sign Fowler to Contract Extension
“We're excited to sign Cam to a long-term contract,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “He's a character kid with a great chance to become an elite NHL defenseman.”
Fowler, 20 (12/5/91), scored 5-24=29 points with 18 PIM with the Ducks last season. He was one of six Anaheim players to appear in all 82 regular season games, marking a career high. Fowler led Anaheim defensemen in assists and points, while ranking second overall on the team in time-on-ice (TOI; 23:15). Among NHL leaders, Fowler finished the year tied for fifth in TOI per shift (57 seconds). He appeared in his 100th career NHL game on Nov. 30, 2011 vs. Montreal.
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (12th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Fowler made his NHL debut in 2010-11. He scored 10-30-40 points with 20 PIM in 76 games, becoming the lone defenseman and one of five players from the 2010 Draft to play the complete NHL season. Fowler finished the season ranked third among rookies in avg. TOI (22:07), tied for third in assists, tied for fourth in power play goals (6), and tied for first in power play assists (17) and power play points. Among rookie defensemen, he ranked second in goals and points, and tied for second in assists. Fowler currently holds Ducks franchise records for goals and points by a rookie defenseman, and assists by a rookie. The 6-1, 205-pound defenseman also made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in 2011, scoring 1-3=4 points with two PIM in six games vs. Nashville.
Fowler talked to media via conference call on Saturday afternoon. Following is a transcript:
On contract talks
Talks have been going on for a week and a half, maybe longer. Just kind of preliminary stuff mainly with my agent keeping me informed on everything. We knew that Anaheim in interest in trying to get something done before today and obviously I knew I wanted to be part of the Ducks’ organization too so it seemed like things kind of fell into place. Luckily things came together today and I’m very thankful to be in the position that I’m in now.
On enjoying the contract despite the looming NHL/NHLPA labor negotiations
For me, personally, it’s obviously a bright light in my career and something that can get me jumpstarted. But, as a whole and as a league, as a unit it’s sad. As players, we’re keeping ourselves prepared to the best of our abilities. Staying positive, staying unified, and making sure we stay together on this. So, it’s definitely hard. It’s kind of bittersweet when you get some good news personally, but, at the same time, you know that the season isn’t quite starting up yet. So in that way it is a little bit hard (to enjoy it).
On his plans
As of right now, we have quite a few guys skating and working out together. It’s good. Right now, I want to be here, I want to be in California working to the best of my abilities to stay in shape when the season starts. I haven’t gone into much detail with anybody if the lockout were to go a certain period of time or what other guys might do. For right now, I’m definitely putting my time in, going to the rink every day, and training with the guys. That’s what I want to do. It’s great to be here with the guys and with my teammates all working toward the same goal.
On whether there was discussion of him playing elsewhere
I want to play no matter what. As a hockey player and a competitor you just want get out on the ice and do what you do. Whether that is Norfolk or wherever that may be, I definitely want to keep my options open. But ideally, hopefully things will work themselves out sooner rather than later. I just want to make sure all options are open to me and try and play, wherever it may be. Whatever management and some players think is best to stay in game shape; whether that’s continuing to just practice here and skate with the guys or go play somewhere if it came down to that. I still don’t have any of those details and we’ll obviously know more in the future, but right now I’m just happy to be here and working out and skating here.
On whether labor talks factored into negotiation talks
You definitely have to look at all angles of it when you’re going through a decision like this. But, in all honesty, it’s a great offer for me and it really shows that the Ducks and the whole organization has a lot of confidence and a lot of faith in me. For me, that was made it so special. It was more than a fair offer and I was completely happy with it. In talking about it with my agent and my family, we knew this was the best decision for me. We obviously studied it from all ends and made sure all the pieces fit together and they absolutely did. I really could not be any happier with it.
On the contract showing the organization views him as a core player going forward
I’d definitely like to think so. I think that’s how you can take it. Obviously if a team wants to extend you early and wants to make sure it’s long-term, five years; it definitely shows that they like what you’ve done in your first two seasons. Obviously there’s always room to improve every year. But as a person and as a player (the contract) shows they have a lot of confidence in you and support you and that’s what means the most to me and gives me confidence going forward.