Throughout the coming weeks, CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Eric Fehr
Age: 29 [turns 30 Sept. 7]
Ht/Wt: 6-4, 210
Penalty minutes: 20
Average Ice Time: 14:51
Playoff games: 4
Penalty minutes: 2
Average Ice Time: 9:53
Contract Status: UFA [2014-15 salary: $1.6 million, cap hit: $1.5 million]
Strengths: In his first full season as a checking-line center, Fehr flourished in his new role, mostly playing between Joel Ward and either Brooks Laich or Jason Chimera. His 17 even-strength goals ranked second on the club [along with Marcus Johansson] behind Alex Ovechkin’s 28 and he was tied with Jason Chimera in average shorthanded ice time [1:23], where his long reach disrupted opponents’ passing and shooting lanes. With the help of assistant coach Blaine Fosythe, Fehr also worked himself into becoming strong in the faceoff dots. His 863 faceoffs were second on the team to Nicklas Backstrom [1,609] and his 52 percent winning percentage was fourth on the club behind Troy Brouwer, Jay Beagle and Backstrom [300 or more draws]. “I want to be a centerman,” said Fehr, who spent the first eight years of his NHL career as a right wing. “I think it helps my game. I enjoy playing defensively, being quick on pucks and help the breakout. I can’t really picture myself being a full-time winger anymore, which is a good thing.”
Room for improvement: Fehr played more games this season  than in any of his nine previous NHL seasons, but he missed 10 of the Caps’ 14 playoff games with a third-degree sprain of his AC joint. In the four playoff games he played Fehr was held without a point and has just five goals and one assist in 37 career playoff games, all of them with the Caps. Fehr’s injury history is likely to keep him from hitting a home run in free agency, but his strong season and big body will make him an attractive option, if not for the Capitals then for another NHL team looking to add depth down the middle. If Fehr can stay healthy he is a perfect fit as a third-line center.
Memorable Moment: Just call him Mr. Winter Classic. Fehr netted the game-winner in Pittsburgh in the 2011 Winter Classic and netted the first goal of the game in a sun-splashed Nats Park at the 2015 Classic, picking up a loose puck and racing in on Blackkhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, beating him with a nice deke and tuck.
Quotable: “Whenever I talked to people about being mean I started calling them bulldozers and thought, ‘We can go somewhere with this. After that I started working with characters and different storylines I could go with. There are a lot of different reasons people can be bullies. I wanted to go with the one most effective. It’s one of the biggest problems in today’s society.” – Fehr on authoring the children’s book, “The Bulliest Dozer”
2015-16 Expectations: Approaching the age of 30, Fehr should be in the prime of his career and there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t aim for between 20 and 25 goals next season. He said he would like to return to Washington but likely would need to take less than market value to stay in D.C., where he’d have a defined role as a third-line center. If Fehr will take somewhere in the $2.3 million range he’s likely to stay. If he wants much more he could be on his way to another NHL city.