Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Washington Capitals 2021-2022 Previews -- Defensemen: Martin Fehervary

Martin Fehervary



“Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing a part
We know every part by heart
Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, we'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it.”

“Listen to the Capitals’ front office, and one name keeps coming up. Martin Fehervary was drafted just a year ago, a second-round pick and the second blue-liner the organization picked that year, but he already has vaulted to the top of the depth chart.”  That comment was published more than two years ago, and it seems the Caps are no less enamored with the young defenseman than they were then.   Not that he has been rushed into a role with the big club.  In the 2019-2020 season that followed, Fehervary played 56 games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL and got six games with the Caps in two separate call-ups. He spent last season on the Caps’ taxi squad and played 24 games with the Bears, going 3-14-17, plus-10. 

Odd Fehervary Fact… When Martin Fehervary recorded seven hits in a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in the round-robin phase of the 2020 postseason, it was the most hits recorded in a postseason game by a rookie defenseman for the Caps n the post 2004-205 lockout period.

Odd Fehervary Fact II… Fehervary is the only Slovakian defenseman drafted by the team in Caps history.

Fearless’ Take… Martin Fehervary was second among Hershey Bears defensemen last season in points 3-14-17) and was fourth among blueliners in 2019-2020 (4-10-14).  He has represented Slovakia in international play dating back to the 2014-2015 season as a 15-year old.  He has experience at t professional level in Sweden.  He has done his time, so to speak, and he is a highly regarded prospect.   Fehervary has not been rushed into the NHL, but it would appear the time has come to take the training wheels off and give him a longer look with the big club.

Cheerless’ Take… The Caps, a team with a competitive window that is closing, are in the position of perhaps entrusting a critical role at a critical position to a rookie.  While Fehervary shows great promise, there are no guarantees.  Much depends on whether Michal Kempny is healthy and/or Trevor van Riemsdyk can nail down a position for himself.  He is likely to be a regular fixture on the blue line at some point, but this might not be the year that happens.

Potential Milestones to Reach in 2020-2021…

He’s new…everything will be a milestone of sorts for Fehervary this season.

The Big Question… Is Martin Fehervary’s apprenticeship over?

The Capitals have depth on the right side of their defense, with John Carlson, Justin Schultz, and Nick Jensen.  On the left side, things are a bit muddled.  Dmitry Orlov will hold down the top pair spot on that side, leaving Michal Kempny and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the second and third pairs.  Kempny is coming off a season lost to injury, and van Riemsdyk, while a proven veteran with seven seasons and almost 400 games on his resume, still dressed for only 20 games with the Caps last season.  This presents Fehervary with an opportunity to grab a regular spot in the lineup, should Kempny be either not completely recovered from his injuries or is a diminished talent as a result of them, or van Riemsdyk prove not quite up to night-in, night-out responsibilities in the lineup.  In 80 games in the AHL, Fehervary went 7-24-31, plus-25.  One gets the impression there is little more he can do there for career development.  He might not get a full season’s worth of games with the Caps, but it is hard to imagine that he will be a press-box casualty this season. 

In the end…

At some point, you have to dive into the deep end of the pool.  Martin Fehervary has six games of regular season experience, but that is likely to increase substantially this season.  On the other hand, he could be pushed from below, by Alex Alexeyev, another left-handed defenseman taken 15 spots ahead of Fehervary in the 2018 Entry Draft.  The Caps are not especially deep among prospects, but Fehervary could prove to be an interesting one in the 2021-2022 season, battling for playing time with the big club while trying to hold off Alexeyev from jumping him in the order of prospects.

Projection: 33 games, 1-5-6, plus-1