A New Year comes with some new problems for the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced on Saturday that it will be without defenseman Cam Fowler for 4-6 weeks. Fowler has already missed Anaheim’s last three games since sustaining a sprained knee 6:28 into the first period of a win against the Flyers on Dec. 27.
Fowler’s extended time on the sidelines seems to guarantee an extended stay in the Ducks’ lineup for Shea Theodore, who was called up from the American Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls on the heels of Fowler’s injury last week.
Theodore, a 20-year-old defenseman the Ducks selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft, is widely seen as Anaheim’s top prospect. He has averaged 16:15 per game and looked intelligent, but still rather unpolished in his first three NHL games since debuting on Dec. 29. He tallied four goals and 12 assists in 27 games with San Diego this season.
Theodore’s ice time may increase in coming weeks, with the Ducks hardly having a margin for error after a brutal start to the season left last season’s Western Conference finalist in the cellar of the Pacific Division for most of the season’s first three months.
Anaheim has gone 5-3-2 in its last 10 games to crawl to within two points of third place in the Pacific Division standings, despite possessing a very middling 15-15-7 record for the season.
At 6'2", 195 pounds, Theodore plays a heady, puck-moving style nearly identical to Fowler’s, meaning he could see some extended time on Anaheim’s power play as well.
He has currently stepped into Fowler’s former spot partnered with Clayton Stoner at even strength.
Theodore spent the past four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, where he was named the Western Hockey League’s top defenseman in 2014-15 and won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championships