Top 25 Under 25, no. 5: Jared Cowen
Gone but certainly not forgotten, Jared Cowen won't suit up for the Ottawa Senators this season and he will be sorely missed. He is already one of the best defencemen on this team, and he just turned 22.
Feeling a little Deja Vu as I write this one today. It was the beginning of May last year, and I was on an airplane on my way to Paris writing this article, slotting Jared Cowen into the 4 spot on our previous countdown. If you are looking for the history of Jared, and how he fared in his rookie campaign in Ottawa, check that one out.
Today, I look at what has changed for Jared since May.
#2 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators
Jan 25, 1991
First, let us look at what I wrote in May (emphasis added):
Jared is going to be a very good player for the Senators for a number of years. His intimidating frame allows him to impose his will on opposing forwards, but he has the skating to keep up with smaller, speedier players. In time, he will only get stronger, and he will get smarter. At this point, it is just experience and learning that Cowen needs, the skills are already there.
Err... about that. First, there was the lockout. That wasn't ideal, as Jared needed NHL time, but Senators fans contented themselves in knowing that Cowen would play nearly 30 minutes per night in Binghamton. He would play in all situations and could hone his game in an improved American hockey league. If/when the lockout ended, Jared would be in game shape, could come to camp and fight Marc Methot for the right to ride shotgun with Erik Karlsson.
Of course, that did not happen. Just three games into the season in Binghamton, while Cowen already had 3 assists on a slow-starting B-Sens team, Cowen suffered a freak injury. He tore a labrum in his left hip and had to undergo surgery, with recovery time looking extremely long. Here is Cowen speaking about rehab:
"It was only six months (as the projected recovery time) with my knee, but more like a year and a half until I felt normal again. I know what it’s really like. Six months until I can play, a year until it feels close to normal."
So it will be a long time until we get to see Jared Cowen back in the Senators lineup and may be a long time until we see him back into form, but there is no doubt he remains a huge part of the Senators organization moving forward.