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Crosstalk: Cam Fowler for the 9th Overall Pick is a Bad Idea but not a Terrible Idea

Anaheim Ducks v Edmonton Oilers - Game Three Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

You might be surprised to hear this, but behind the scenes at WIIM, we Red Wings bloggers like to spend a lot of time talking about the Red Wings. Sometimes we even have really good conversations we can bring to you to share in. Today, we’ve got one just like that.

It all started yesterday when Helene St. James at the Freep posted her mailbag, a fun little bloggy-type thing from a beat writer to answer a few questions and perhaps fill up a page. Of the three questions she answered, one particularly caught our attention

Helene’s answer is below:

(This user means Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler.)

HSJ: If the Ducks would say yes to that, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But Fowler is worth much more than that. He’s an elite, elite skater who at 25 already has established himself as a consistent mid-30s points producer, and savvy power play performer. He had 40 points as a rookie back in 2010-11, and hit 39 last season.

The Ducks do have more good defensemen than they can protect in the expansion draft, but it’s a sellers market when it comes to shopping defensemen, and it’d take more than the ninth overall pick to acquire Fowler.

First off, we’ll start with an agreement that Cam Fowler (the 12th overall pick in 2010) is probably not worth “much more than that”, as Helene claims in order to make such a trade a heartbeat-quick decision. In fact, I think Fowler for the 9th overall is a really intriguing option for both sides. I could see Anaheim demanding more value, but certainly not “much more.” I could just as easily see Detroit walking away from a demand for more.

We pick up the conversation after the requisite unimportant banter and talk about how it’s definitely not a heartbeat yes from either of us, but it’s also not a definite no in my mind:

J.J. From Kansas

I mean, we're not going to be good for the next few years because we have a hole in our defense that drags the rest of the team down

so the potential to fix that hole kind of negates the certainty of sucking


I just don't see Cam Fowler being a potential fix to the elephant in the room that is our defense.

Gun to head, if it's between drafting Liljegren or trading for Fowler.. It's no contest for me.

J.J. From Kansas

Problem is the decision likely has to be made before draft day so yeah it's overall a no for me, but that's not a snap no

I think on draft day, there's a few different ways Fowler ends up being > BPA


Immediately? Sure. But I don't see Fowler fixing what we have in front of us, so I'll pass on it.

I'm going to stay firm with draft and develop. You'll swing and miss on some draft picks, but it's better in the long run I think.

J.J. From Kansas

Cam Fowler has a greater chance to make an immediate and long-term impact on the team by nature of him already having proven himself capable of doing so than the 9th overall pick

The 9th overall pick doesn't fix what we have in front of us either


Nope. Nothing really will, barring some super-trade.

J.J. From Kansas

That said, the benefits of better cost-control for a lot of these guys is going to outweigh the risk that they're busts


That's why I like draft and develop. Cost-control is key with how the team has been tied up.

J.J. From Kansas

I don't know what combination of picks have to happen in the top eight to flip that risk upside down for me, but I believe there's at least one that's possible


I guess if you just drafted Connor McDavid then trading 9 for a defenseman like Cam Fowler makes sense.

a la Hall for Larsson, which was still fucking stupid.

But when you're hogtied with a bunch of bad contracts committed to middling players and a half-handful of really promising prospects.. I'm not sold on a gamble like that.

J.J. From Kansas

I don't think it's so dour. We ended up a lottery team because a lot of ifs went wrong. Those ifs reverse and you're looking at a team that possibly is a Cam Fowler away from making noise. Yeah I'd rather be a stronger team than "we rely on ifs", but there's an iffy team in the conference finals right now


I guess that's where we differ. I've been an "if" kind of fan since 2012. I'm ready to assume some sort of long-term plan over taking another "if."

J.J. From Kansas

a long term plan is an if plan,

they're all if plans


I agree. I like that if plan more.

Fowler is an OK defenseman, and definitely in his prime.. But his contract expires after this season. I see trading 9th overall for him a bigger gamble than drafting at 9th overall, or even trading back for more picks.

J.J. From Kansas

Historically, the 9th pick is about a 1-in-4 chance that the guy you take is either a top-six forward or a top-four defenseman. There's about a 50/50 chance that pick turns out no better than a guy who gets into about 350 games before flaming out

according to that TSN draft pick valuation from a couple years ago.


I like those chances better than another top-four defenseman on a contract year.

Though, on the flip side.. I can see it. KH is in a contract year himself. He might take another swing at the fences knowing what he has with AA and Mantha. I don't like or agree with it, but I get it.

J.J. From Kansas

yeah I can see that. I don't think it would be the worst thing but I do agree it would probably be better for the team's long-term health if they took the cost-controlled gamble rather than the costlier semi-sure thing who isn't exactly the home run

After that, discussion, Prashanth hopped in to tell us that he agrees with the consensus, so Kyle and I high-fived over being as smart as Prashanth and a good time was had by all. So what do you think, WIIM fans?


Cam Fowler for the 9th Overall Pick?

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