Wednesday, October 08, 2008

2008-2009 Previews: Sergei Fedorov

And now…

Sergei Fedorov

Last Year: 11-30-41, -5, 6 PPG

Career Average (per-82 games): 32-46-78, +18, 10 PPG

Fearless’ Take: After suffering 191 games in Columbus over almost three seasons, looking as if he was going through the motions on the last lap of his career, he was sprung loose to join a bunch of frisky Russians and an otherwise young group with promise. He didn’t look like an old man in the 18 games he dressed for the Caps after the trading deadline. He did not put up big numbers (2-9-11, -2) in those 18 games, but he didn’t have to be the big, go-to guy. He won’t have to play that role on this team, either. He’ll probably get work to start the year centering Alexander Semin and, it would seem, Brooks Laich. It took Semin a while to get accustomed to Fedorov late last year, but scored four goals in the last six regular season games, all of which which included an assist from Fedorov. This could be as intriguing a pairing as the Backstrom-Ovechkin pair on the top line.

Cheerless’ Take: 83-65-44-42-41. That’s the last five seasons’ worth of points for Fedorov. Call it the effect of playing on bad teams (the last four years were on teams that finished below .500), but that’s not a trend you want to see, even if it is part of the hall-of-famer to be’s career winding down. And, in the last three seasons, he’s missed a total of 38 games (in the previous six seasons he missed a total of 31 games). The dip in goal-scoring Fedorov has experienced in recent years isn’t so much a function of his shot-taking as it is his shot-making. From the 1998-1999 through the 2003-2004 season, Fedorov scored on fewer than ten percent of his shots only once and was 11.7 percent overall. Since then, he has been over ten percent once in three years and was 9.1 percent overall. Is he, at this point in his career, a second line center over the long haul of 82 games?

The Peerless’ Take: The Capitals have, by their franchise standards, remarkable depth at forward in terms of scoring ability. That means Fedorov doesn’t have to be the point-plus-per-game player he was for more than a decade in Detroit. The Caps could have half a dozen players with more than 50 points this year (they had four last year), and Fedorov figures to be one of them. Something to watch, based on recent history, is that Fedorov has been a bit of a power play specialist. Of his last 29 goals over two seasons, 13 have come with the man advantage (he also has a pair of shorthanded goals). What Fedorov might no longer have in terms of high-end scoring ability, he will make up for in experience (and that which he imparts to the youngsters on the club) and versatility. With the Capitals keeping 22 on their roster – and only six defensemen – Fedorov is what amounts to the “emergency” defenseman, having played that position from time to time in his career. Once Michael Nylander went down last year, the Caps lacked an effective second line center. Specifically, they lacked a credible playmaker there to take more advantage of Alexander Semin’s finishing skills. That should not be a problem this season.

Projected: 14-38-52, +2


Flying Cloud said...

Thanks for that, Peerless. Last year he helped lead our team to the playoffs, fitting in effortlessly, and never telegraphed that he was coming off a concussion and other injuries. Elite athletes don't age like we do. I've noticed there are many more older guys in the league now than long ago when I started watching hockey, so I guess they are finding more ways to remain resilient. I, for one, am glad. The veterans are crafty and fun to watch. It's an education to listen to them, and teams will always need them, to win. I like all of our veterans, but Fedorov is my favorite player of all time.

erik said...

Thanks as always, interesting three forwards in a row with 52 points...

But I find it hard to believe that Feds will come close to the point production that Nylander will get. But I hope your right because that would mean that Fed has more durability and scoring threat left in him than I thought.

The Peerless said...

Maybe I should have had Mike Green with 52 points, too.