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Ducks GM Bob Murray says the team won’t send Cam Fowler to the minors

Nov 2, 2010, 5:38 PM EST

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We might still weigh in on this debate since it’s one of the most interesting situations regarding rookies facing the nine-game deadline for “burning” a year from an entry-level contract, but Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said that the team will keep defenseman Cam Fowler at the NHL level.

The nine-game deadline was supposed to come up a few days ago, but a broken nose halted Fowler at six games played. Any drama that might have lingered is gone now, though, as the team will keep him and let one of his bargain contract years burn away.

General manager Bob Murray said Tuesday the Ducks will stick with Fowler beyond the nine-game deadline for returning him to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

Anaheim has been impressed by the 12th overall pick in last June’s draft. Fowler has one goal and two assists in six games with the Ducks.

Fowler also has been cleared to return Wednesday after missing the past six games with a broken nose and a stiff neck. Phoenix’s Shane Doan ran him into the boards Oct. 17.

I’m not certain this is the best idea for the Ducks. For one thing, the team is obviously in disarray, so you’re not exactly keeping Fowler in a great environment. Is this the best situation for the talented blueliner to become acclimated?

Another important factor – especially with a team that’s, um, a little light in the wallet like the Ducks – is the fact that the team will have some tough contract negotiations in the summer that Fowler’s contract will expire. While Fowler will be a restricted free agent, both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will become unrestricted free agents at the same time.

If Fowler proves to be the kind of top-end talent many expected, that will be a tough summer for the Ducks. Then again, if he’s really as good as advertised, perhaps he’ll be worth the trouble.

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