Whatever Happened to Jared Cowen?

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 24: Jared Cowen #2 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New York Rangers during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on January 24, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 24: Jared Cowen #2 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New York Rangers during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on January 24, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

With the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Level Draft, the Ottawa Senators select of the WHL, Jared Cowen

Jared Cowen was picked with the Ottawa Senators’ first pick in the 2009 NHL draft and saw a lot of ups and downs before eventually fizzling out… Let’s take a look at whatever happened to Jared Cowen?

Related Story. How Trading Away Cody Ceci turned into Acquiring Jakob Chychrun. light

First let’s look at his Pre-NHL Career

Before being drafted 9th overall, Jared Cowen played for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. Infact, he was selected 1st overall in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft. In his draft +1 year, he scored 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points in 50 games played. He served as his team’s captain up until he made the Ottawa Senators lineup in 2011-12. In junior, he was more known as a defensive defenseman who played a TON of minutes and  used his large 6’5 body extremely well. Ahead of the 2009 NHL draft, Cowen was ranked at 5th overall by The Hockey News, to which he was drafted by the Senators with the aforementionned 9th pick.

Cowen was the third defenseman drafted in the NHL draft, the two before him being Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Victor Hedman. Just two picks after him, the Nashville Predators selected… Ryan Ellis. Hindsight 20/20, that sucks for Sens fans. Five picks later? Nick Leddy. At 19th overall? Chris Kreider… In the Second round? The Avalanche selected Ryan O’Reilly with the 33rd pick. In the third round? The Avalanche select Tyson Barrie… Okay that’s enough knife twisting. The Ottawa Senators definetely missed with their 9th overall pick. Ahead of the draft though he was regarded with such potential, even being compared to Zdeno Chara, what happened?

From a Promising start, to slowly sliding down the depth chart

In the 2022-12 season, he was able to make the Ottawa Senators lineup out of training camp. He was able to solidify himself as a top 4 defenseman with the team during his rookie season, mostly being paired with veteran Sergei Gonchar. In his rookie year, he suited up in all 82 games and scored 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points and had 56 PIM’s.

The next season, there was the Half-Season NHL lockout. He was then assigned to the Senators’ AHL Affiliate, the Belleville Senators. He played 3 games with the BSens before suffering a what was initially expected to be a season-ending injury, and required surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left hip. His recovery was quicker than expected and was able to return to the Ottawa Senators lineup in April. His first game back, he had two fights against Chad LaRose and Kevin Westgarth.

Between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons, he suffered more injuries and was not able to play a single full season in this span. In between all this time spent recovering, he also slid down in terms of his ability to play the game at a high-enough degree to remain in Ottawa’s lineup before finally being a regular healthy scratch in the 2015-16 season.

The Trade

On February 16th 2016, the Ottawa Senators completed a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs sending Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg alongside a second round pick in the 2017 draft in exchange for Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey. This is a trade tree that will be explored in the near future as I’m pretty sure it’s still active. For now, let’s focus on Cowen’s time with the Maple Leafs and onward.

Almost immediately, Cowen was placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs and was told to go home as the team had no intention of playing him in the AHL. He was then bought-out in the offseason, and since he was placed on the Injured Reserve retroatively to this move, he decided to file a grievance against the Maple Leafs as the CBA stipulated that players on the Injured Reserve could not be bought out. Unfortunately, he lost this grievance and was left without a job for the 2016-17 season. In the 2017-18 season, he signed a PTO with the Colorado Avalanche but was released as they did not want to pursue his serviced any further. He has not played since and is now retired.

Closing Thoughts

What was once a very promising career was brought to a quick and abrupt end in large part due to several injuries that were not rehabbed from correctly. This can be used as a learning-moment to take the time to properly hear from injuries and to not come back too soon.