Eric Fehr is a great many things: the greatest outdoor goal-scorer in the history of the NHL; alternately a first-line winger, a third-line center, or a healthy scratch; Washington’s second-most prolific shooter; and a children’s book author. Starting in July, he’ll also be an unrestricted free agent.
I think Fehr is one of the most undervalued and underutilized players on the Capitals roster, and he should be a priority for re-signing. Let me tell you why.
|14:51||Average time on ice per game|
|51.2%||Shot attempt percentage during 5v5|
|53.1%||Goal percentage during 5v5|
Fehr’s on-ice shot-attempt percentage in 10-game running segments, according to War on Ice:
The season started about as good as it possibly could for Eric Fehr. On opening night, he was the first-line right wing for the Washington Capitals, sharing time with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom. Together they owned 57 percent of the shot attempts and 57 percent of the goals, but it didn’t last. By the middle of October, Fehr was on the third line between the twins. By the end of the October, he was a scratch.
There’s something in Fehr’s game that coaches don’t like. Some call it glide or an unwillingness to play Heavy Hockey. We saw it with Oates, who scratched Fehr nearly all of October 2013, and saw it– to a much lesser degree with Trotz in 2014-15. And yet Fehr’s results are indisputable: 19 goals, all but 2 during even strength; and 14 assists, all of them during even strength (with not always great linemates). That’s better production than the Caps got out of Kuznetsov, Wilson, Laich, Ward, and a bunch of other players who were given more opportunity to succeed in DC.
Fehr is a goal scorer. Ask the Brandon Wheat Kings– or just consult the individual 5v5 shot attempts among Capitals forwards, where Fehr ranks second only behind Alex Ovechkin (who ranks first among everyone on the planet). Depending on how he’s used, Fehr could either be a deadly, net-crashing right wing for Ovi or the second-line scoring threat this team lacked most of the season. Instead, he was thrust into the center spot next to weak possession players (Ward, Laich, Chimera).
Part of that is a problem of roster construction. The Capitals lack middle-six-quality centers, so they kept on assigning utility players to try to fill the role. The other part of the problem is talent evaluation: the Caps just don’t know what they’ve got in Eric Fehr. He’s a real good hockey player who rarely is given the opportunity to play real good hockey.
I think it’s unlikely that Fehr will re-sign in Washington, and I am sad.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) January 11, 2015
What are the chances Fehr will re-sign with the Caps? Give me an amount and a term length– I’m thinking south of $2.4M AAV, but what do I know? That last one was a rhetorical question, so don’t answer that.
Read more: Japers Rink
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