Eric Fehr was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline last year from Pittsburgh, along with Steven Oleksy and a fourth round pick. Toronto was looking to use their cap space to acquire a draft pick, while Fehr’s veteran leadership was also a welcome addition.
Fehr only ended up playing one game in a Maple Leaf uniform after injury ended his season. In 2017 Fehr is looking to establish himself, this time in Toronto, as a contributing bottom six forward in Toronto.
Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Preview, 50-in-50: Eric Fehr
Eric Fehr has had success in his hockey career, however, his 2016-17 season may be one he chooses to forget. After a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fehr returned to the PPG Paints Arena as a shut down forward in their bottom six.
Signed to a three year, $6 million contract back in 2015 by the Penguins after a 33 point year, Fehr had produced reasonably as a third or fourth line versatile player in the past. However, he only managed to notch 14 points in 55 games in 2015-16 with the Penguins. Fehr’s production continued to decline last year, only scoring 11 points in 52 games before being traded.
After being dealt to Toronto at the deadline, Fehr had to wait three weeks before getting his chance in the lineup. He made his debut with the Leafs against the Blue Jackets after Nikita Soshnikov needed a night off. Unfortunately for Fehr, his fresh start was cut short, as he broke his hand after blocking a shot on the penalty kill, ending his season.
Profile (via Elite Prospects)
Weight: 212 lbs
NHL Entry Draft: First Round, 18th Overall in 2003 by Washington
Contract (via Cap Friendly)
Fehr is in the final year of contract he signed with Pittsburgh back in 2015. The contract is worth $6 million over three years, carrying a cap hit of $2 million a season. His contract is very easy to understand, as well. No performance bonuses, no signing bonuses, just simply a $2 million base salary.
Fehr will have his work cut out for him if he wants to become a regular under Mike Babcock. It will now be his job to try to avoid becoming the next Brooks Laich or Milan Michalek in the eyes of Leafs management.
Although his size and experience prove valuable, the Leafs have a slew of young, offensive talent at the forward position. Not to mention the depth at the center ice position with Auston Matthews, Tyler Bozak, and Nazem Kadri. With recent signing of Dominic Moore, Fehr may find himself in a familiar position of late; on the outside looking in.
A versatile forward who can play on the left, the right, and down the middle, there simply is no room for Eric Fehr. He is aging, at 31 year old, and his production has been in steep decline. Whether at the wing, or down the middle, Fehr is too expensive to sit in the press box. He could very well end up on waivers and down with the Marlies.
Not to say that all hope is lost for the veteran forward. Fehr will need to have quite an impressive training camp if he expects to become a regular on Mike Babcock’s bench.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images