From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Eric Fehr.
Contract Status: RFA; 2007-08 salary of $800,000 (average of $894,933 over the life of his expiring contract)
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 23
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): Parts of three seasons, 48 NHL games played
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 23 games played, 1 goals, 5 assists, +4, 6 PIMs (3 goals, 4 assists in 11 games for AHL Hershey)
Key Stat: To many, just the fact that he came back from a mysterious back injury and was able to play was key.
Surprising Stat: Fehr was third on the team (behind the Alexes) in shots on goal per minute of ice time.
The Good: Fehr's another guy who deserves an "incomplete" due to a lack of training camp and limited ice time and games played, but we'll have at him nonetheless. Anyway, Fehr posted an impressive plus-six rating in his final twenty games of the season and had the third best goals for/against on ice per sixty minutes of ice time ratio on the team (thanks in large part to being on the ice for the second fewest goals against per sixty on the team). Fehr was also on the ice for the most Caps shots on goal per sixty of any player, and was on for the third-fewest shots against, giving him a team-best ratio in that combined stat. All of this (though an admittedly small sample) means that the puck was in the offensive zone a lot when Fehr was on the ice. Fehr also drew as many penalties in 23 games as Tomas Fleischmann did in 75 (and in less ice time and usually on lower lines). Take all of the above with his high shot per minute total and proven scoring touch at lower levels, and a lot of the ingredients are there - now Fehr just has to put 'em all together.
The Bad: Take away his three-point game against the Bruins on March 3 and Fehr had a goal and two assists in 22 games. In fact, take away his career numbers against the B's and he has two goals and three assist in 44 NHL games. Fehr's 2.5 shooting percentage was worst among Caps forwards whose first names don't start with "Q," and he had the fewest points per sixty minutes of ice time of any Caps forward (and by a wide margin). Bottom line: with 109 goals in his last 142 WHL games and 50 in his last 121 AHL games, you'd like to have seen more than three in his first 48 NHL games.
The Vote: Rate Fehr on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Questions: What role do you see Fehr playing on the 2008-09 Caps - is he ready for full-time duty on a top-two line in the NHL? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?
If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.
* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.