Montreal Canadiens: Jacob Fowler’s Rookie NCAA Season Is Off To Blazing Start

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 29: Jacob Fowler smiles after being selected 69th overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 29, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 29: Jacob Fowler smiles after being selected 69th overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 29, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The lone concern about Montreal Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler when he was drafted was that he was quite heavy compared to the other 2023 goaltender prospects.

While the weight seems miniscule, it’s quite important for a goalie to be lighter, so they can move around the net easier. Another thing that was mentioned about Fowler is that he isn’t a goaltender who relies on his athleticism.

Fortunately, he possesses a solid knowledge of the position and trust in his game. While he isn’t an explosive, highlight-reel goaltender, he is positionally sound. Because of that, he relies heavily on his physical traits to get in the way of pucks, and this has proven to be an effective approach for the Melbourne, Florida, native.

Recently, however, it was reported that Fowler had lost a considerable amount of weight during the offseason. When he was drafted, he weighed 223 lbs, but it was recently revealed that he dropped down to 206 lbs ahead of his rookie year with Boston College. A significant drop in his weight, could help him more laterally, and improved strength should make him quicker.

This seems to have helped him tremendously because the 18-year-old is off to a 5-1 start, earning Hockey East Goaltender of the Month honours for October. With the Canadiens’ need for a starter of the future, and while it’s only the early stages of his career, it is intriguing. The way Fowler plays, and his strong foundation look like translatable traits.

After winning the Clark Cup Championship with an 8-1-0 playoff record, while it’s promising, Fowler has set high expectations for himself his entire career. He relishes in the pressure, and as we know there is no bigger pressure cooker than La Bell Provence, he appears ready to be Carey Price’s successor. Touting a goaltender as the heir apparent to a potential hall of fame like Price is a huge amount of pressure for Fowler, but he wants it and thrives in the biggest moments.

He kicks off a new month on the Calendar, hoping to flip from a brilliant month of October, to hopefully a fantastic November.

Friday Night Clash Against UMass Lowell

Fowler heads into a Friday night clash versus the UMass Lowell, after a brilliant first month of the season. He has been arguably the best Eagles player to start the season, and that’s a very promising thing to hear for the Habs. The Eagles play the first half of a home-and-home from their barn the Kelley Rink. He is coming off a 43-save performance against Michigan State University last week on Friday.

Along with his previously mentioned 5-1-0 record, he has a steady 2.15 goals/against average, and a .919 save percentage. His Eagles are ranked first in the nation, and the support he has from Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) and Will Smith (San Jose Sharks prospect) has been huge. If Ryan Leonard and Gabe Perreault can continue their strong play, the Eagles could make a lot of noise. Boston Bruins prospect Oskar Jellvik has also been off to a strong start.

Fowler continued his hot start to his Freshman season last night with a 27 save performance against UMass Lowell. He allowed a pair of goals in a 3-2 victory which improves the Eagles overall record to 6-1-0 on the season and they are the top ranked team in the country by various polls throughout the nation.

Fowler has now increased his GAA to 2.13 and his SV% is up to .921 on the season. The season is still young, but Fowler has faced some stiff competition in Quinnipiac, Denver and a pair of games against Michigan State. To see him off to such a great start is fantastic news for Canadiens fans, and should have the attention of the American World Junior team.

Final Thoughts

As a relatively high selection, in terms of where goalies are generally selected, Fowler will grab the lion’s share of attention amongst the Habs goalie prospects. The 2023 69th overall selection was quick to express his confidence, and that he has been through adversity. Being left undrafted throughout the Canadian Hockey League and United States Hockey League drafts, during his draft year, has left the player with a chip on his shoulder.

The Canadiens have put an onus on character, and not much shows character like dominating in a league in which you were left undrafted. Fowler dominated during his junior career with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms, earning a laundry list of personal accolades. Goaltending requires, perhaps the highest level of mental toughness, and it appears that Fowler has spades of it.

If anybody knows about goaltending and translatable traits, it would be the man who coached Price from 2013 until April 2021. Technically, Price was down before 2021, but that’s when goaltender coach Stephane Waite was fired from his goaltending coach role with the team.

Recently, Waite stated on a segment of Hockey 360, that he has confidence that Fowler will be the number-one goalie for the Canadiens one day. Very big shoes to fill, but he is coming along quite well, and the team will be ready for him when he arrives.

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