From Alzner to Varlamov, we’re taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced ’em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up Eric Fehr.
#16 / Right Wing / Washington Capitals
Sept 7, 1985
$771,750 cap hit in 2009-10; arbitration-eligible RFA this summer
Key Stat: Six, the number of games Fehr missed because of injuries suffered in the 09-10 campaign.
Interesting Stat: 12:07, Fehr’s average time on ice, 11th among Capitals forwards.
The Good: 2009-10 was a breakout year for Fehr, as the former first round draft pick broke the 20 goals plateau, set career highs in goals, assists, and points, and enjoyed the healthiest season of his NHL career. But how good was Eric Fehr’s 2009-10 season? Consider the following: by scoring 1.50 goals per sixty minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, Fehr scored more often than every NHL forward other than Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Sidney Crosby, and . Fehr was no slouch in the assist department either, finishing sixth on the Caps in total assists per minute of 5-on-5 time, and fourth on the team – behind Ovechkin, Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom – in points per sixty minutes. Even more impressively, Fehr did it playing with the worst teammates of any non-fourth liner.
Of course, offense is only half the game. Luckily for Fehr, he acquitted himself pretty well in the defensive end as well. His 1.92 GAON/60 and 1.75 +-ON/60 are both solid, and above average, even on a team as talented as Washington. Fehr also took fewer penalties per minute of 5-on-5 play than any other Capital forward, drew more than any forward not named ‘Alex’, had the best per-minute penalty differential of anyone on the team, and blocked his fair share of shots. To top things off, Fehr only gave the puck away nine times in the 836:50 he played in the regular season and his 4.33 takeaway to giveaway ratio was 28% better than any other forward.
Finally, Fehr performed well this postseason, notching three goals and four points in his limited playing time, scoring goals at a higher rate than any of his teammates when it counted the most.
The Bad: The bad for Fehr primarily revolves around his special teams play. For all of Fehr’s 5-on-5 dominance, his powerplay numbers leave a lot to be desired; only Eric Belanger and Brendan Morrison scored less often in 5-on-4 situations, and only Morrison had fewer points per minute. Part of that has to do with the opportunities Fehr was given (he skated less than 90 seconds on the powerplay per game, less than any other PP regular), but the production is still lower than you’d hope for given his 5-on-5 numbers.
As for playing a man down, well, Fehr didn’t do much of it, and with good reason. For all the things Fehr has going for him, skating ability ain’t one and he simply lacks the speed, agility, and quickness to imagine he’d be an effective penalty killer.
Finally, it’s worth nothing that while Fehr’s 5-on-5 numbers are impressive, they were earned against some pretty weak competition.
The Vote: Rate Fehr below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season – if he had the best season that 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 season you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Has Fehr established himself as a legitimate top-six forward in the NHL? Could Fehr be just (or nearly) as effective with bigger minutes against better competition, or is he just benefiting from riding the coattails of his elite teammates? Where do you think Fehr fits in with the Caps next season – and where do you think he will fit in? Finally, what would your offseason plans for Fehr be?