Cam Fowler is taking notes.
For the 12th overall pick in the recent NHL Entry Draft, the coolest aspect of the Ducks’ rookie conditioning camp has been watching a pair of players with NHL experience, Dan Sexton and Nick Bonino. Not watching how they skate, pass, or shoot, but “seeing how they carry themselves, how they’re professional in the way that they act.”
“I think it’s cool for me as a young guy just to be around those guys and see what it’s like,” Fowler said. “It’s just being respectful to everybody, carrying yourself professionally whether it’s picking weights up in the locker room or gathering up some money to help the trainers out. They always seem to be one step ahead of things to help us young guys out.”
In three intrasquad scrimmages this week, Fowler has been among the players who are a step ahead of everyone else — more mentally than physically, but sometimes both.
Fowler has shown that he knows when and how to score, hit, pass, jump up in the play and lay back. Considering the level of competition, it’s everything you could expect from a player who was projected to be drafted as high as third overall.
There are only three players in camp with NHL experience (Sexton, Bonino and MacGregor Sharp), but there are also five (Emerson Etem, Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri, Jake Gardiner, Mark Mitera) former first-round draft picks other than Fowler. While not NHL-ready, it’s a fairly high level of play.
“It’s similar to World Juniors, with the caliber of players,” Fowler said. “Being able to play in that (2010) world juniors, I was used to the speed and the pace of play out there. As you keep moving up, it just keeps getting better and better.
“You need to be in good conditioning to play this game, especially at the
Fowler said that improving his strength and conditioning will be the focus from the time he returns home to Farmington, Mich. on Monday, until the start of NHL training camp in September. But getting in shape shouldn’t take Fowler as long as many prospects. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he’s not the skinniest kid in camp and he was aware of what kind of training regimen to expect even before the camp began.
“Not much is new, really,” he said. “Playing at the (U.S. National Team Development) Program, I got a lot of exposure … I know what the Olympic lifts are and training like that.”
On Saturday, Fowler also showed that he’s been taking good notes.
Late in the scrimmage he was holding the puck at the left point when he spotted Stephane Da Costa, an undrafted NCAA prospect, open in the slot. Fowler’s pass had the right speed and angle — it was too fast for Da Costa to get a stick on the puck as it caromed off his skate and into the net past Timo Pielmeier.
But that wasn’t where Fowler’s note-taking skills came to the surface.
The goal was immediately waved off. Da Costa skated over to the referee to plead his case, but a phantom distinct kicking motion was the call on the ice and it wasn’t going to be overturned. (Maybe it just seemed unfathomable that an 18-year-old defenseman could execute that play.) Fowler simply skated away.
If he has any more skill and luck up his sleeves, there will be more meaningful goals in Fowler’s future.