During the NHL lockout, Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle caught himself watching the 2011 Winter Classic. That night at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Penguins was a showcase for the oft-injured Eric Fehr.
“What a game he had,” Beagle said.
There weren’t many of those games for Fehr during parts of six seasons with the Caps spent battling a barrage of shoulder injuries. But he’s getting another chance now.
The Caps are expected to sign Fehr to a one-year contract as soon as the NHL opens for business and the right wing passes a physical, a team source said Saturday. The deal will count $600,000 against the salary cap, and Fehr will be paid that pro-rated amount for a 48-game season.
The 27-year-old was the No. 18 pick in the 2003 draft, just ahead of Ryan Getzlaf. Considered one of hockey’s top prospects, he dealt with injuries to both shoulders that required surgery.
During parts of six seasons in Washington, Fehr had 46 goals and 47 assists. He never played more than 69 games in a season.
The Caps dumped Fehr’s $2.2 million cap hit in July 2011 in a trade to the Winnipeg Jets for a fourth-round pick and minor league enforcer Danick Paquette.
The Winkler, Manitoba, native played in just 35 games for the Jets, starting late because of a shoulder problem and getting benched as a healthy scratch. Known for his scoring, Fehr had just two goals and one assist.
Now he’s more than a year and a half removed from the most recent shoulder surgery and back to his scoring ways, judging from his lighting up Finland’s SM-Liiga. Fehr had 13 goals and 12 assists in 21 games for HPK Hameenlinna during the lockout.
“To have him come back, that’s pretty cool,” said Beagle, a friend of Fehr’s who was taken by surprise to learn from reporters about the signing. “I think he’s a real skilled player. Good right-handed shot. He also, in the locker room, is just a great guy. He’s just a great guy to have on the team.”
Fehr should bring some forward depth for a team looking to find scoring to replace Alexander Semin. It remains to be seen how he holds up with more hits in the NHL than he dealt with in Finland.
Green has Lasik
Mike Green skated a little too close to goaltender Michal Neuvirth during Saturday’s informal skate, but he had a good excuse.
“I had Lasik eye surgery [Thursday] so my vision’s a little off,” the defenseman said. “I didn’t realize he was that close to me. I apologize though.”
Green, 27, said he’s finally 100 percent almost a year after sports hernia surgery to take care of a nagging groin injury.