The Anaheim Ducks have lost a key member of their blue line, as last night the team announced that Cam Fowler is headed for surgery to correct a complex facial fracture suffered when a puck struck him. The surgery is scheduled for Friday, but Fowler will be out for some time as there is damage to his orbital bone, cheekbone and upper jaw bone. To add insult to injury, the Ducks were picked apart by the Vegas Golden Knights last night and have to welcome in the red hot Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche over the next few days.
Fowler, 26, is in the first season of his new eight-year extension, and was off to a great start with ten points in his first 19 games. That had him on pace to break his previous career-high of 40 points, though he and the rest of the Ducks have struggled in their own end this year. Since John Gibson has kept them in games with excellent goaltending, their middling record betrayed some bad play to start the season. Even now as they start to get things organized they’ll face a big challenge with Fowler out of the lineup, given that he has been averaging close to 25 minutes of ice time this season.
It’s not clear exactly how long he’ll be out, but the Ducks will now have to find someone else to take on those minutes. As Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic wrote yesterday (subscription required), Anaheim may actually have already been looking to acquire a defenseman despite rumors about the availability of Brandon Montour in a potential William Nylander swap. With Fowler now out that search to add some help to the blue line may be increased.