Fresh off a career high season, Eric Fehr has extended his stay with the Caps after signing off on a two-year deal worth $4.4 million yesterday afternoon. Fehr had 21 goals and 39 points in 69 games with the Caps last season, even though he averaged less than 13 minutes of ice time a game. Out of all the 20+ goal scorers in the NHL, Fehr had the lowest on-ice average.
Plagued with injuries during the early portion of his career – he was the Caps’ first-rounder in the 2003 Entry Draft – Fehr finally came into his own last season, shrugging off surgery on both shoulders and a major back injury. Having been an offensive force despite the low ice time, his return to the Caps offense should elicit a great sigh of relief for the Rock the Red nation. Fehr had a solid playoff performance last year, with 3 goals and 4 points in the seven game series with Montreal.
The Caps announced today they’ve signed defenseman Jeff Schultz to a four-year deal worth $11 million. Keeping Schultz with the club was important for the team’s blue line; Schultz had recently filed for arbitration along with Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr.
Schultz skated in 73 games last season and led the NHL with an eye-popping +50 rating, a team record for a single season and the first d-man in the NHL to lead in plus/minus since 2005-6. He also racked up a career-high 20 assists on 23 points and averaged just under 20 minutes of ice time a game. “I’m not going to be one of those guys who rushes the puck from end-to-end,” Schultz admitted to Caps writer Mike Vogel. “It’s my job to get it up to the forwards as quick as possible and get it out of our zone with as much ease as possible. If I can make a simple play instead of forcing it, it helps myself and it helps the team.”
The signing is the third by the Caps since July 1, the start of the NHL’s Free Agent signing period. The team signed veteran AHL goalie Dany Sabourin on Saturday and yesterday closed a one-year deal with forward Boyd Gordon. Gordon, the Caps 2002 Entry Draft first-round choice, has played 303 games for the team and recorded 24 goals and 76 points during his Caps career. Last year, Gordon spent a good portion of the season on the injury list, playing in only 36 games and registering 4 goals and 10 points.
The NHL 2010 Entry Draft occurred in Los Angeles over the last three days and after seven rounds, the Caps exited this year’s draft with five new prospects. Selected by the team are Evgeny Kuznetsov (Russia), Stanislav Galiev (Russia), Philipp Grubauer (Germany), Caleb Herbert (U.S.), and Samuel Carrier (Canada). The five selected picks cover the range of ice positions, from center to goalie, and will be entering an already well-stocked prospect larder. GM George McPhee has gotten a great handle on building the team’s future depth, in large part due to the experienced Capitals’ scouting squads.
“FANS: As you leave the arena, please be considerate of our neighbors and use your horn only as a necessity. Thank You.”
The Capitals are having an immensely successful season, and as Ben noted earlier this morning, the squad just locked up their third straight division championship. Much of the success has been at home; until a shootout loss earlier this week, the Caps had enjoyed a double-digit win streak on home ice. The hometown crowd has certainly been enthusiastic in the Phone Booth, but some neighbors are now asking that the raucousness stay inside.
WTOP.com reported that the sound of constantly honking cars after Caps wins at the Verizon Center have moved nearby parking facilities to ask fans leaving to not lay on the horn so much to celebrate. The above warning can now be seen on signs in the garage under the facility, and we’ll see how well it works come late-April now that the men in red are about to set off on another playoff campaign.