Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

A couple points have come up now that Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has put the word out that defenceman Cam Fowler is being guaranteed his full season's salary.

"Murray made it official after telling the Register on Monday that he saw no reason for Fowler to be sent back to his Windsor Spitfires junior hockey team as the 18-year-old first-round pick was that impressive in his six games played with the Ducks." (Orange County Register)

There should be a little concern about how the 12th overall pick holds up physically. The Ducks have played it safe since Fowler wound up with a broken nose and stiff neck from a Shane Doan hit two weeks ago. Injuries can be recurring, not to play Will Carroll without Will Carroll's credentials.

The reality that's a doubt probably attests to there being not much concern Fowler has the capacity to be a 20-minute-per-night, puck-moving defenceman in his age-19 season. He was doing that for the Ducks in his first six games. It is also noteworthy Murray made the call before Fowler returned to the lineup, since it had been reported otherwise.

(Plus, if Anaheim keeps going the way it is, Fowler gets on-the-job training for a team angling for a lottery pick in a 2011 draft that has a real big drop-off after the top three prospects.)

Secondly, now that Fowler is likely out of the mix for defending world junior champion Team USA, the Yanks have only one returning defenceman, John Ramage, the Calgary Flames fourth-rounder who plays for the Wisconsin Badgers (wow, our second reference to a Big Ten school today). Of course, the tourney hosts' potentially six returning forwards is likely six more than Team Canada will have (see: Brayden Schenn), so that more than evens out.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

(Photo: Getty Images.)

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