Ducks sign first-rounder Fowler

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Ducks have signed defenseman Cam Fowler to a three-year contract, likely putting the first-round draft pick on a fast track to the NHL.

The Ducks announced the deal Wednesday.

Anaheim drafted Fowler with the 12th overall selection last month after the projected top-five pick unexpectedly fell several spots.

The 18-year-old had eight goals and 47 assists for the Windsor Spitfires last season during their run to the Memorial Cup title. The puck-moving defenseman also played for the U.S. junior team that beat Canada in the world championships.

The Ducks are hoping Fowler eventually emerges as a successor to Scott Niedermayer, their recently retired captain idolized by Fowler.