2019-20 Team: Erie Otters (#14)
Date of Birth: September 24, 2001
Place of Birth: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 180 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 66th (Mid-Term Rankings, NA Skaters)
- Andrew Forbes’ Top-217 Rankings: 119th (March)
- Larry Fisher’s Top-300 Rankings: 138th (March)
A new season. A new opportunity. That’s what the 2019-20 season was set to be for Hayden Fowler. Because his birthday is nine days past the Sept 15 cutoff, he enters this draft as one of the oldest first-time eligibles available. Those nine days allowed him to take last season to fully recover from a brutal clavicle injury that cost him 12 weeks. Now he can give it his best shot this season to impress NHL teams. The season got off to a good start too.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Fowler scored goals in his first three games. Then at the end of October and into November, he posted consecutive three-point games against the London Knights. It felt like he was about to show us the potential he had. But then the Otters started struggling as a whole. This affected Fowler’s game.
The Otters had a five-game homestand at the end of November and into December before playing at last-place North Bay. The Otters lost all six games with Fowler recording just two points in those games. At a time when the Otters needed their leaders to step up, not much was working for them. That’s been the theme with Fowler’s career to date. He can either show up big or not at all.
When he’s on his game, he’s fast. He uses his speed to create havoc for opponents. His hockey sense and vision are both above average and he can drive the play. He can also finish as evidenced by being the Otters’ third leading goal scorer this season with 20. He plays with an edge you like to see. He’s all over his opponent trying to get under their skin. Talent has never been a question with Fowler.
But questions with him do start with durability. He’s missed one out of every three games in his Otters’ career. He missed time this season due to an upper-body injury, though he did play in 52 games. Teams will wonder if this is something that will recur in the future. Plus missing all that time especially last season did put him behind on his development. Taking 12 weeks from a prospect like that is not easy to overcome.
In addition, Fowler’s PIMs spiked up dramatically this season. He plays with an edge but sometimes goes too far with it. He has to learn when to pick his battles and when to lay back. He also needs to show improve away from the puck. This is a case where the talent is tantalizing but the questions are valid. He’s above average in several areas and could be a late bloomer now that he’s back to playing consistently. Whoever drafts Fowler gets someone with great potential but may need to be patient with him as he finds his way back.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Hayden Fowler – NHL Draft Projection
Most of the industry is going to downgrade Fowler based on his production. I think we have to be a little careful how we evaluate him. While his production is not to his standards, he suffered a major injury last season and was injured again for part of this season. The skating and the skill is there but now just has to put the whole package together. He fits inside my top-90 because of his skill set, it’s that good. But don’t be surprised if he slips to later rounds. At that point, he becomes a steal.
“For Fowler, it’s all about consistency. He’s an immensely talented kid. Very aggressive in attacking the offensive zone, looking to use his speed to push the pace. But he also has great hands that allow him to make quick moves and decisions while in full stride. You’ll see him cut to the middle, using defenders as a screen before unleashing a quick wrister, or spinning off checks to maintain and extend possession for his line. But what he does without the puck is still a work in progress. He’s not the world’s biggest kid (5’10), so he’s going to need to prove further that he can make plays in traffic and excel when the game slows down. He has a tendency to disappear a bit in these situations and consistency from shift to shift is an issue. He’s a late 2001, but he missed a lot of time last year with a clavicle injury so he’s still trying to find himself more than your average third year player.” –Brock Otten
“Like Hayden Fowler here (in Erie), we may have been a little hard on him at the start when we started him at a C level. That’s just on the viewings we had of him from last season. He’s already a B prospect and climbing. And that’s where he deserves to be.” – Dan Marr/NHL Central Scouting Director
- Above average skater
- Great hands
- Excellent awareness
- Strong finisher
- Plays with an edge
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Needs more discipline
- Play away from the puck
Fowler still has a good NHL future ahead of him, but it’s up to him to clean up areas of his game to get there. He has the skill to become an effective NHL winger who can boost a power play. Next season will be huge for him to prove he can put a full season together.
Risk – 4.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10, Defence – 6.5/10
Fowler was named an alternate captain for the 2019-20 season for the Erie Otters.