It is a well known fact that the scoring from the depth players on the Penguins propelled them through the playoffs, but the guys who don’t normally fill up the score sheet were just as valuable to this championship team. One of these players was Eric Fehr. Throughout the season I have seen some unwarranted hate on Fehr on twitter.
I chalk this up to most people just looking at the score sheet and not really paying that much attention to what happens in he game, but some people watch him and have a few things that they just don’t like about him. Fans say that he has trouble handling the puck, yes. Not many of the large hockey players in the league are not known for their flashy offense. Take Zdeno Chara for example, he isn’t exactly known for his amazing puck handling skills, but he is known for hard hits and great defense. That is what people need to take Fehr for, a hard hitting defensive forward. Don’t expect him to make a flashy move to score a goal, though sometimes he might.
He has a 6 foot 4 body and he sure knows how to use it. He uses his length to get in front of the puck. He blocked a total of 45 shots during the regular season and 15 just this playoffs, equaling half of his career playoff total. This was very valuable during the Finals when the Penguins were blocking a large amount of San Jose’s shots, including 38 in game 3 that went all the way to an overtime in which the Penguins lost.
A regular on the penalty kill, the team finished the season with their penalty kill at 84.4%. He’s able to use is large body to block shots and knock the puck away from opposing players. He also scored 4 shorthanded goals.
Fans don’t recognize his amazing defensive play. I specifically say fans because it is apparent that the media does. 3 times in Fehr’s career he received votes for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league’s best defensive forward. In 09-10 he finished 32nd in voting, 45th in 12-13, and 38th just last year. He’s able to use his large body to knock defenders off the puck and knock the puck away from defenders.
Not every player can be flashy like Crosby, and I hope that fans will change their mind about Eric Fehr. I predict next year he will score a little more. His offensive stats are down from last year and he should be able to bounce back from that next season.