Minnesota Wild: 2018-19 Season Preview of Eric Fehr

ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Eric Fehr #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the game on November 25, 2016 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Eric Fehr #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the game on November 25, 2016 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Eric Fehr is currently listed as jersey #21 on the Minnesota Wild roster page. With 3 weeks remaining until preseason, we’re looking ahead at the veteran free agent addition.

On July 1st, 2018 the Minnesota Wild signed veteran NHL forward Eric Fehr to a one year deal, bringing in the 13 year pro to improve the Wild’s depth of forwards. Fehr brings with him a pedigree of scoring from his early career, and more recently a shutdown capability as a bottom 6 forward.


Eric Fehr entered the league as a highly touted 1st round pick, originally drafted 18th overall in 2003 by the Washington Capitals. Following consecutive 50+ goal seasons with Brandon in the WHL, Fehr arrived to Washington as a top scoring prospect.

His first 2 seasons were largely spent in the AHL, with brief call-ups to the NHL each season,. His time in the AHL resulted in a Calder Cup win with Hershey in 2006, where Fehr led the team with 25 goals.

In February 2007 Fehr was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back, and did not return until the following February. He finished that season in Washington, and has been an NHL regular ever since.

Fehr would never recover the scoring prowess he had in juniors, due in large part to the injuries that continued to plague him as a professional. He lost a portion of 2008-09 to a shoulder surgery, and then the other shoulder required surgery in 2011-12 after he had been traded to the Winnipeg Jets.

Minnesota Wild
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Minnesota Wild

Following surgery on both shoulders, Fehr was not offered a contract renewal with Winnipeg so he re-signed with Washington as a free agent. This was when he found a new level to his game and reinvented himself as a player.

3 more seasons spent in Washington saw Fehr produce 41 goals and 81 points in the bottom 6 of the lineup. Where Fehr excelled in these years, was recreating himself from a former top line scorer to a shutdown center on the 3rd line for the Capitals.

Following 2014-15, Fehr underwent a successful elbow surgery and signed a new contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The season in Pittsburgh was spent largely on the 4th line, and resulted in Fehr earning a Stanley Cup Championship with the team.

The next season Fehr played a similar role in Pittsburgh, but as the trade deadline came near he was seen as the odd-man out. After clearing waivers with the intention of being assigned to the AHL, Fehr was traded by Pittsburgh to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In Toronto, the situation wasn’t much better for Fehr. He only managed to get in a single game following the mid-season trade in 2016-17, and then 4 games last year before he was assigned to the AHL.

Following a 28 point season in the AHL over 34 games, Fehr got traded by Toronto to the San Jose Sharks and was recalled to the NHL. He finished the season on San Jose’s 4th line, recording 4 points in 14 games, and then an additional 2 points in 10 playoff games as he helped San Jose into the second round.

Season Preview

It is interesting that Fehr chose to sign with the Minnesota Wild this offseason, considering that he has had to fight for playing time on the 4th line for so many seasons in a row. The only logical reason I can see behind it, is that Fehr feels he can fill the same role as his former teammate Matt Cullen.

Last season, Cullen played 79 games as a bottom line center and filled a hole on the Penalty Kill. Fehr has developed into a very similar player and comes with a much cheaper price tag than what Cullen has earned.

There will be a battle, and Fehr will still need to earn his place on this team. Training camp and preseason should offer some line-up battles that Minnesota Wild fans may not be used to. Fehr will be pushed for his spot by youngsters Luke Kunin, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Kyle Rau so it will not be clear sailing for the veteran to get in the lineup.

Perhaps the soon to be 33 year old veteran has something left in the tank after a season spent in the minors where he was clearly better than most competition in the AHL. I think it’s more likely, though, that he is stuck in that awkward spot of being too good for the AHL but not quite excelling in the NHL.

There are a lot of players on this team fighting for very few spots to be had. If Fehr cannot earn the center spot on the 4th line, there is always a chance he could outperform Matt Read, Marcus Foligno, Jordan Greenway, and/or J.T. Brown to land a wing spot and stay with Minnesota.

If Fehr falters in training camp and preseason, he will most likely find his way down highway I-35 to spend the season in Iowa hoping for another chance to return to Minnesota.

My bold prediction is that Eric Fehr will spend the season as a member of the Minnesota Wild roster. He should expect 40-50 games, maybe more depending on injuries, playing mostly on the 4th line as a mentor to Greenway, Kunin, Eriksson Ek, and Rau.

2018-19 Season Preview of Kyle Rau. dark. Next

He can expect to see a lot of time spent as a healthy scratch, depending on matchups and the developmont progress of the younger players. I don’t think we will see more than 10 points out of him, but he can teach and provide the defensive style of play Minnesota expects of its forwards. This is all you can really ask for a veteran 4th liner.