The Washington Capitals have reportedly sent restricted free agent defenseman Martin Fehervary a qualifying offer which secures his rights as free agency approaches in less than two weeks. Fehervary is the last RFA the Caps have on their NHL roster this summer.
The news comes from Slovak outlet Nový Čas, who spoke with Fehervary at Miroslav Satan’s charity golf tournament.
“I think I will stay in Washington,” Fehervary said and translated via Google Translate. “I have already received a qualifying offer and we have started talking about a new contract. We’ll see how it goes.”
Fehervary is coming off his second full season in the NHL with the Caps. In 67 games he recorded 16 points (6g, 10a) and was a mainstay within the team’s top-four defensemen. His process stats did take a dive at five-on-five as the Caps saw just 45.8 percent of the shot attempts, 45.9 percent of the expected goals, 46.1 percent of the scoring chances, and 46.2 percent of the high-danger chances with Fehervary on the ice.
The 23-year-old blueliner had a few health questions during the year, including a 12-game absence due to a hit from Flames forward Milan Lucic. Nový Čas reveals that Fehervary told them he did not accept Slovakia’s invitation to play at the World Championships due to a back injury that was causing him “severe pain” and the inability to even lean forward.
In more positive news, Fehervary says he is already recuperated enough from that ailment to start training again.
“I play golf, fish, and train in full swing,” he said. “I have prescribed fitness and strength components and I am also on the ice.”
With the Caps seeking to get younger this offseason, Fehervary will be an important piece to that process as he already has multiple pro seasons under his belt at a young age. Once Fehervary signs, the Caps will have six defensemen under contract in the NHL. Three of them, Fehervary, Alexander Alexeyev, and Rasmus Sandin, are all just 23 years of age.
General manager Brian MacLellan has indicated his desire to bring in even more youth this summer. After a season that was the franchise’s worst full, 82-game season in 16 years, Fehervary was somewhat in agreement with that strategy and honest with what he saw as one of the main issues.
“Certainly some change must come,” Fehervary said. “After all, we have an older team. It is more challenging to maintain the appropriate pace with young teams, but we are trying.”
NHL free agency starts on July 1. The deadline to officially submit qualifying offers to RFAs is on June 30th at 5 pm ET.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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