After spreading 21 games over the previous three years, Jake Dowell got his chance to spend some a full season with the Hawks. He played in 79 games plus 2 in the playoffs. The Hawks were desperate for guys playing center and thought Dowell could fill in well on the fourth line. They also likely hoped he could fill out some size in the bottom of the roster and bring some physicality. That only sort of worked...
|2010 - Jake Dowell||79||6||15||21||5||63||0||0||0||74|
Contract Status: RFA - $525K Cap Hit in 2010-2011
Positives: 21 points and a +5 for Dowell is honestly more than we really expected out of the fourth liner in his first real time in the league. Especially when you factor in what our third and fourth lines looked like for most of this year. You could argue that he did also bring a good physical game to the squad - he was third among forwards in hits. He brought some extra sandpaper to the team as well. Dowell led the team in fighting majors (he had 9 - one more than John Scott). He held his own in that regard, going 4-4-1 according to the fine people at hockeyfights. He was also willing to sacrifice himself, blocking 43 shots, the most of any forward. Dowell's key area of development though was becoming a fairly solid penalty killer. He averaged 90 seconds a game on the ice shorthanded and put up solid stats throughout. You'd imagine his agent will be selling this point pretty hard.
Negatives: While 21 points is pretty good, they don't tell the full story. Dowell had 15 points in 2010 and only added another 6 in the current calendar year. Not exactly the consistency we were looking for. He didn't really excel in the physical aspect of the game either. Sure he racked up a ton of hits but do any of them really stand out? I can't remember any really. Fights are nice but at least one was pretty ill-timed and none of those stand out either. Though at least he did make Segal bleed pretty good.. Faceoffs are something to be worked on as well in the offseason... 48.9% isn't godawful but there's room for improvement.
Defining Moment: The aforementioned Segal fight. In the thick of one of the most ridiculous playoff races in memory, Bryan Bickell was a late scratch with no replacement on the roster, leaving the Hawks to dress 11 forwards for the game, one of whom was John Scott (so basically 10). Pretty good time to settle a score from the AHL, huh Jake?
Outlook: As a RFA, it'll all come down to how much he's asking for and what other options the Hawks have available. If the price is right, I'd imagine the Hawks would certainly welcome Dowell back next year. At 26, we're probably not going to see much more improvement from Dowell but he can still fill in a fourth line role. Personally, I'd like to see what he can do in that spot with actual forwards at his sides, not Scott or Hendry like we saw too often. He showed potential to be more than just a body on the fourth line and could perhaps give the Hawks some extra rest for their core players if trusted with more time. Consistency will be the question though. If it was an injury that caused his drop off in production then a full year healthy could be a welcome addition next year. If it wasn't an injury, well lets hope he can fix whatever it was that bringing him down.
Grade: C+. I feel like that may be a little harsh but I really can't justify giving him much higher. He was about what we would expect and not much more. Had he played his whole season the way he started out, it would be much higher.