As the offseason begins, we’ll take a player-by-player look at the year that was for the Washington Capitals.
Contract status: $2.2 million in 2010-11, $2.2 million in 2011-12.
The year that was: Eric Fehr had started to heat up on the scoresheet late December into early January as he recorded four goals and seven points in six games, but then his season took an unexpected setback. On Jan. 14, Fehr collided with former Capital David Steckel in the neutral zone and dislocated his right shoulder. The right wing, who already had a history of shoulder problems, missed 22 games with the initial recovery. Fehr played the rest of the season with his shoulder in various degrees of health and stability.
Fehr underwent successful surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder once the Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs, and he will face a four to six month recovery process.
While the injuries played a role in limiting Fehr’s numbers, he had trouble getting off to a strong start this season, and it wasn’t until after being a healthy scratch for a few contests that he started to find his offensive rhythm. The Capitals’ overall offense dropped, but they still want to rely on Fehr for consistent secondary scoring when he’s in the lineup.
Looking ahead: Fehr’s recovery may limit what he’s able to do in training camp and will determine if he’s ready for the start of next season. In his three full seasons in the NHL, Fehr has never played more than 69 games, and he has been limited by injuries to varying extents in each.
The 2011-12 season will be the final year of his current contract, and although he has had unfortunate injury luck, once healthy it’s up to Fehr to show the growth and consistency that is to be expected in his fourth consecutive year with a defined role in the lineup.
Etc.: Aside from the rain and weather, Fehr stepped into the spotlight during this year’s Winter Classic. He scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the Capitals’ 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh under the lights at Heinz Field.
It was part of Fehr’s scoring surge at that stage of the season and helped give the Capitals a victory with the hockey world and HBO’s “24/7” watching.