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2014 Winter Olympics U.S. Men’s Hockey Player Profile: Cam Fowler

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Fowler began his hockey career with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in 2007. He put up 13 points in 38 games — not eye-popping numbers by any stretch. The following year, however, the defenseman played for the U.S. National Under-18 Team and was an absolute force offensively. In 47 contests, Fowler registered 40 points, including eight goals.

It was his performance that year that put the smooth-skating rearguard on the radar of NHL scouts. Fowler signed on with the OHL‘s Windsor Spitfires in 2009, where he enjoyed a stellar, albeit brief, junior career. He scored at a point-per-game clip, managing 55 points in 55 regular season games. Fowler was also an impact performer in the playoffs, with 14 points in 19 postseason matches.

His strong season with the Spitfires put him among the elite prospects of the 2010 Entry Draft, where he was projected to be a top five pick. Instead, Fowler dropped to the 12th spot in the draft, where he was selected by the Anaheim Ducks.

His fall out of the top five was supposedly due to concerns over his small size and lack of defensive awareness, though nobody denied his game-breaking offensive abilities. Fowler made an immediate transition to the NHL and enjoyed a successful rookie year, putting up 40 points in 70 games from the back end. His below-average defensive skills were exploited though, as the defenseman finished the season with a plus/minus rating of -25.

During his sophomore campaign, Fowler’s production took a hit and his defensive woes continued. He registered 29 points and a -28 rating while appearing in all 82 games for the Ducks.

Fowler has since improved his defensive play and his offensive output is starting to increase. In 58 games this season, the 22 year old has 30 points and a plus/minus rating of +12. Anaheim is firing on all cylinders, currently ranked first in the Western Conference, and Fowler is a key reason why. He logs heavy minutes on the blue line and carries the load offensively for the Ducks’ defense corps.

However, Fowler’s role on Team USA will likely be smaller. It’s his first crack at the Olympics and he’s one of the youngest players in the tournament. With the likes of Ryan Suter, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk patrolling the back end, it’s unlikely that Fowler will crack the squad’s top two defense pairs. He will, however, be used heavily on the power play.

Sam Kelly is an NHL writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.