We all know Jared Cowen.
We know about his great junior career. We know about his surprisingly solid rookie season. We know about his unfortunate hip injury and the resultant setback to his play in the 2013-14 season. There's probably no need to go into detail chronicling those things.
Last year's tough season set Cowen back a fair bit in our rankings: He was fourth in 2012 and fifth in both (winter, summer) of the 2013 rankings, which is a long way from his spot in this year's off-season rundown. There are pretty good reasons for his plummet down our rankings: Qualitatively, he looked slow, was regularly caught out of position, and couldn't reliably advance the puck to save his life. Quantitatively, he was one of the worst regulars on the team with a CorsiRel of -3.7 despite playing more than half of his even-strength ice time with Erik Karlsson.
Cowen's season probably wasn't as bad as many around here (myself included) have been saying, but nor was it as good as was expected--going into the season, he was penciled in as half of the team's second pairing, but that didn't work out very well. His extended contract negotiations cost him an all-important training camp after rehabbing his hip for the whole summer, and he never seemed to make up that ground.
Expectations remain high for Jared Cowen heading into this season. The team's depth chart hasn't changed on the blue line, so the opportunity remains for Cowen to earn a spot in the Sens' top four. Cowen has a lot of things going for him, including past success, his big size, and plenty of confidence.
There are no excuses left for Cowen. He's not recovering from his injury anymore, he'll be at training camp from start to finish, and he's got another full season under his belt. We'll see what happens this year.