Early in Capitals Training Camp, it became clear that the Capitals were pleased with the play of prospect Martin Fehervary. Fehervary grabbed the organization’s attention with his skating ability and work ethic. So it wasn’t much of a surprise, with Christian Djoos’ cap hit nearly impossible to keep around, that Fehervary earned a roster spot when Michal Kempny wasn’t ready to start the season.
Unsurprisingly, Fehervary was sent back to Hershey on Sunday with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s salary coming back on the books and Kempny nearing a return. But Fehervary’s three-game stint in DC made it clear why the organization is so high on him. The 2018 second-round pick displayed skills important for a defenseman to have in today’s speed-based game: he skates well, he’s poised with the puck, and he makes a quick and accurate first pass breaking out of the defensive zone.
Here’s a quick look at how Fehervary fared in each of his first three NHL games.
If Fehervary has shown any nerves, it was in game one. Although, that may be more of a post-hoc narrative than fact, as the few mistakes he made can happen to any defender in any game. He committed a noticeable turnover early in the game and took a delay-of-game penalty, but otherwise, he had a stellar debut. Fehervary skated 13:34 at five-on-five, and the Caps out-attempted the Blues 11-6 in those minutes, owning 60.6 percent of the expected goals.
I thought this was Fehervary’s strongest game. He skated 15:21 at 5-on-5, and the Caps again tilted the ice during those minutes, out-attempting the Islanders 18-11, owning 65.4 percent of the expected goals during Fehervary’s shifts. While this was a road game and the Islanders got the last change, it was clear the Caps weren’t afraid of New York’s preferred matchups. Fehervary skated 6:10 against Mathew Barzal, and the Caps out-attempted the Isles 7-2 during these minutes. Allowing Fehervary to skate so many minutes against tough competition is a signal that the Caps coaching staff believe in the rookie and wanted to test him during his time in DC.
Fehervary skated 12:10 at five-on-five against the Canes, and the Caps again had the better share of the shot attempts when he was on the ice, 12-11. Fehervary continued to show his strong skating skills and passing instincts. With the Caps having the last change, Fehervary saw fewer minutes against top-six players, but he still looked like a capable NHL player in the minutes he did play.
While Fehervary’s first stint in DC was short, the three games showed why his future is so bright. The Caps have an embarrassment of riches of young, left-handed defenseman in the organization.
Fehervary has shown he’s one of the strongest of these options moving forward.
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