With NHL Free Agency just four days away, NoVa Caps is taking a look back at the best free agent signings in franchise history in the days leading up to July 1.
No. 4 – Eric Fehr
Originally drafted by the Capitals 18th overall in 2003, Fehr earned his shot at the NHL after Bruce Boudreau, his head coach in the AHL, was promoted to the Caps in 2007. While he never turned out to be a 50-goal scorer like he was in juniors, Fehr endeared himself to Capitals fans in his first stint with the team.
After playing with the Capitals from 2005-11, Fehr was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for defensive prospect Danick Paquette. The move was surprising, considering that just months before, he had helped sink the rival Pittsburgh Penguins with two goals in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic. Paquette would never play a single game with Washington, while Fehr struggled in an injury-shortened three-point, 35-game season.
After the 2012-13 lockout ended, Fehr returned to North America (he had been playing overseas) without an NHL team to play for. Then-Capitals General Manager George McPhee took a flyer on the longtime Capital, and signed him for a one-year, $600,000 deal. Fehr made the most of his second opportunity with the Caps, playing a solid two-way game while adding nine goals and 17 points. McPhee rewarded the lanky center/right wing with a new two-year contract.
Fehr comtinued to evolve as an offensive player over the next two seasons, recording 31 and 33 points respectively; and adding another Winter Classic goal in the process. In his two stints with Washington “F-16” totaled 87 goals and 87 assists for 174 points in 419 games played in a Caps sweater.
Fehr departed the Capitals last summer in free agency, signing a three-year deal with Pittsburgh. Fehr is one of the best free agent signings in franchise history because he evolved as a player and in doing so, helped the Caps become one of the top two-way teams in the NHL during his final three seasons in D.C.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Top 5 Free Agent profile!
By Michael Fleetwood