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Prospect Update: Ethan Bowen
By Thomas Harrington
A seventh round pick from 2020, Ethan Bowen completed his final year of BCHL hockey this past season and is committed to the University of Vermont this coming season.
This past year was actually supposed to be Bowen’s first year of college hockey. He was going to attend the University of North Dakota, but he ended up deciding that it wasn’t the right fit for him. Instead, he returned to the Chilliwack Chiefs for his fourth season with them and was one of the alternate captains for the first time in his career. Bowen played in 39 games and scored 18 goals and 43 points. The 43 points were a new career high for him, while his 18 goals were one short of his career high, but he had previously scored 19 goals in 58 games, so this was definitely his best offensive season in the BCHL.
Bowen missed 15 games with injuries and a three-game suspension during the season, but still finished fourth on the team in points, and was second in points per game with 1.10, one of only three players on the team to average over one point per game. Bowen also had two separate eight-game point streaks and never went longer than two games without a point. In the playoffs he scored four goals and five points in seven games. The four playoff goals were also a career high for him.
My expectations for Bowen from last year were all based around him playing in the NCAA, so they don’t apply to this season. However, if I’d known he was going to go back to the BCHL for one more season, my expectations for him would have been for him to have his best offensive season with Chilliwack, and he did just that.
This coming season he’ll be a freshman at the University of Vermont. Vermont doesn’t have the strongest hockey program and they routinely finish several games below the .500 mark. However, being on a weaker team may give Bowen more of a chance to play major minutes that a freshman usually wouldn’t get.
Even though Vermont doesn’t have a strong program, I don’t want to set my expectations too high for Bowen this coming season. He’s going to score fewer goals and points than he did in the BCHL. My first expectation for him is to play in most of Vermont’s games. Injuries happen, but I’d like to see a healthier season out of him. Second, I’d like for Bowen to be among the team’s leaders in goals and points. He doesn’t need to lead both categories, but I’ll be happy if he’s one of his team’s more dangerous and consistent forwards.
Bowen is still a number of years from turning pro, and is several years away from having a shot at the NHL. Anaheim likes to let their NCAA prospects play a number of years in college, so I anticipate Bowen getting three or four years of college hockey before signing his entry-level deal and joining the Gulls. One thing that could change that timeline is the fact that Bowen is already 20. Since he’s already old for a freshman, if he has a strong couple of seasons in the NCAA, the Ducks could decide to sign him after his sophomore year and bring him to San Diego in a couple of years. However, even if that happens, I still think he’ll get at least a season in the AHL before getting a shot at the NHL, so it’s probably anywhere from three to five years or more before we see him in an Anaheim uniform. Bowen also might never even get there; few seventh round picks do. However, the Ducks didn’t have a seventh round pick when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft started, and they made sure to pick one up so they could draft Bowen. The Ducks clearly like this kid, which will hopefully be a good sign for his future.
Bowen is currently unsigned and will be until he’s done with his college hockey career, so the Ducks have control of his rights until August 2026. If he develops quickly, expect to see him signed in two or three years and joining the Gulls. However, if his offense doesn’t translate to the NCAA, the Ducks may give him all four years at the University of Vermont and then let him become a free agent at the conclusion of his college career.
The next prospect update will be on Kyle Kukkonen.
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August 22nd, 2022