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Cam Fowler stays put as Ducks don't move at draft

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray indicated he did not initiate calls about a possible trade of defenseman Cam Fowler.

Once another GM said his team was looking for a left-handed defenseman like Fowler, the rumor mill started to run frantic for the Ducks around the draft and Murray started to received queries about the availability of his player.

“One GM made a comment about looking for a big left-handed defenseman and then I have to get all the phone calls,” Murray said. “But I will do anything to make my team better.”

Earlier in the week, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said he was looking for a left-handed defenseman.

Fowler stayed put giving Murray a valuable chip moving forward this offseason as he tries to retool his roster for recently re-hired coach Randy Carlyle.

Overall Murray did what he normally does on draft day. He supplemented his already deep pool of prospects with more high-end draft talent. He took London Knights winger Max Jones with the 24th overall pick and then Regina Pats center Sam Steel with the 30th pick in the first-round of the draft.

The Ducks are one of the top teams in the NHL at stockpiling depth to supplement their NHL players, which often gives Murray the ability to trade a higher-end defender like Fowler.

"The plan was to try to do some more but the draft didn’t work out that way," Murray said. "There were not a lot of things going on. I think it was something to do with the cap being stagnant, expansion coming. I think it was a quiet, quiet draft. There were a few reasons for that so that restricts you in everything you’re trying to accomplish, but we keep working at it." 

The 24-year-old Fowler was considered trade bait because the Ducks need money in order to re-sign pending restricted free agents Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm.

Fowler is signed for two more years at $4 million per-year. Anaheim also has Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour in their system and with so many defensemen Fowler has become the most expendable of the group. 

He led the Ducks in average ice-time per-game last year at 22:47, but had 28 points in 69 games played. He hasn’t hit 40 points since his rookie year in 2010-11.

Last season Folwer held a 49.81 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% and a minus-5.85 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel. 

The prior season he held a minus-1.92 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel.

The Ducks have $57.304 million dedicated to 35 contracts for next season according to General Fanager. They have about $15.696 million of salary cap space, but the Ducks often don’t hit the high-end of the cap threshold. Lindholm is considered Anaheim’s top all-around defender and is likely due a large raise off his entry-level contract. 

“People call on my players all the time. And they know I’m deep on defense so they make phone calls and there are some GMs that like to talk and that creates other teams calling and ‘Is this true? Is this true?’ That’s what happened in this case,” Murray said. 

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