The Ducks are one point back of getting out of the Pacific Division basement, but Anaheim is going to have to try to get back into the playoff hunt without the help of blueliner Cam Fowler.
After Fowler left Sunday’s game with a lower-body injury, the Ducks announced Monday the 24-year-old defenseman has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a sprained knee in Anaheim’s 4-2 win over Philadelphia. Worse yet, though, the Ducks don’t have a timeline for Fowler’s return.
“We all consider him one of our top defensemen,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told AnaheimDucks.com’s Kyle Shohara. “You lose him for any length of time, and I don’t know what the timeframe is, but it’s going to hurt any time he’s not playing.”
Through 34 games this season, Fowler has three goals and 12 points, good for fifth in scoring on the Ducks, but he’s logging the biggest minutes of any player on the team. Fowler has been a big part of Anaheim’s penalty kill and power play, and only Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Bieksa average more time on ice per game at even strength.
With Fowler out, Anaheim’s 2013 first-round pick, 26th overall, Shea Theodore is likely to make his NHL debut. The 20-year-old has four goals and 16 points in 27 games, and Boudreau said Theodore could be a good quarterback on the power play when he’s in the lineup.
“I’ve been playing pretty strong,” Theodore told Shohara. “We kind of play the same system (as the Ducks in AHL San Diego), so hopefully it’s not too much [of an adjustment] if I do get in.”
The Ducks said a timeline for Fowler’s injury will be determined later this week, but Anaheim has an upcoming eight-game road trip that will be key in determining whether or not the season can get back on track. Being without Fowler will make getting on track that much more difficult, but that may be Anaheim’s fate with the young blueliner on the injured list.