The Washington Capitals
continue to keep their young core intact, signing forward Eric Fehr
on Thursday to a new two-year contract.
After coming to terms earlier in the week with forward Boyd Gordon
and defenseman Jeff Schultz
, the team put the finishing touches on a deal for Fehr, who at 24 is coming off a breakout season despite averaging only about 12 minutes of ice time per game.
Fehr put up career highs of 21 goals and 39 points in 69 regular-season games last season, adding 3 goals and an assist in the first-round playoff loss to the Canadiens. A restricted free agent, he said he was comfortable with the length of the contract.
"I thought that was something both sides were comfortable with doing," Fehr said during a conference call. "I feel I have a lot to give. … Part of the reason I wanted a two-year deal was I could go out and play and not have to worry about re-singing at the end of season, focus on my game and improving on my last season."
Originally selected by the Capitals with the 18th pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, injuries curtailed the early part of Fehr's career. He debuted with the team during the 2005-06 season, but battled back and shoulder ailments. He managed to play 61 games with the Capitals in 2008-09 and recorded 12 goals and 25 points, but this offseason is the first one where Fehr can recall being fully healthy.
"This is the healthiest offseason I've had in my pro career and I'm really enjoying it," he said. "I'm getting a good opportunity to get a little stronger, work on a few things I haven't been able to work on in the past, and I'm looking forward to big things next year."
"This is the healthiest offseason I've had in my pro career and I'm really enjoying it. I'm getting a good opportunity to get a little stronger, work on a few things I haven't been able to work on in the past, and I'm looking forward to big things next year." -- Eric Fehr
Fehr is spending the summer in his native Manitoba, training and "working on my golf game," he said. After the surprise first-round knockout by the Canadiens, he's looking forward to getting back to work in the fall and is pleased Capitals GM George MacPhee has been busy re-signing several of his teammates such as Gordon and Schultz.
"We were definitely hoping to have everybody back," Fehr said. "We were very disappointed with the way things ended last season. Now we kind of get a chance to take a crack at it with the same group of guys, which is something we wanted."