Martin Fehervary has been a quiet bright spot on Washington’s blueline to start the season.
Martin Fehervary might not be making the most noise for the Washington Capitals this season, but he is quietly off to an incredible start on the Caps’ blueline. The rookie defenseman has slotted in on the top defensive pair with ease, looking very comfortable next to John Carlson. He plays a balanced game with a great hockey IQ, especially for someone so young. The Capitals’ organization clearly had high hopes for him this season and so far he is more than delivering – so let’s take a closer look.
Fehervary is averaging 18:38 of ice time through the Caps’ first 16 games of the season, almost always skating with Carlson. He and Carlson complement each other well — Fehervary’s speed, physicality in the Caps’ own zone, and high awareness of the play around him mix well with Carlson’s more offensive-minded game. Fehervary is able to stay calm and grounded in high-pressure situations, even though he came into this season with a total of six NHL games under his belt.
Additionally, despite not being the most physically imposing player on the ice at 6’-2” and 202lbs, he plays with a smart and calculated physicality. He is currently second on the team in hits with 45 and tied with Nick Jensen for the most shot blocks with 26. Fehervary plays a very disciplined game, and is one of just two Washington defensemen (the other is Justin Schultz) who have not taken a penalty yet this season.
That being said, Fehervary has also shown this season that he is not afraid to join the rush or try to generate offense. This was particularly notable in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, when he opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal and recorded three shots on goal in 16:59 of ice time. The shorty was the result of a very well-executed 2-on-1 down the ice with Tom Wilson that ended in an absolute snipe of a wrister past Tristan Jarry:
Fehervary rode that offensive high into last night’s game in Anaheim, tallying two assists in the Caps’ OT loss to the Ducks. His primary assist on Garrett Pilon’s first NHL goal was a blast from above the left circle that Pilon just got his stick on, and his secondary assist on Tom Wilson’s deflection set John Carlson up nicely for a point shot of his own. This marks Fehervary’s first career multi-point game and gives him three points in just two games.
His first goal of the season, and of his NHL career, came on October 23 against the Calgary Flames. After helping facilitate the play out of Calgary’s zone, he was in the perfect spot to receive a drop pass from Wilson. Fehervary skated down across the right wing circle with the confidence of a 50-goal scorer to fire a snap shot into the back of the net:
It seems like Martin Fehervary plays with more and more ease and self-assurance every time he takes the ice this season. He clearly put in some work this offseason, and it is paying dividends. It is not easy to show up to training camp with the weight of high expectations on your shoulders, and that pressure can have a tendency to mess with your head. Fehervary, however, has handled it all with poise. He looks very comfortable skating on the top defensive pair of a Stanley Cup contender as a rookie, and brings a nice combination of youth and speed to a talented Washington blueline. The Caps have several rookies in the lineup for the first time in several seasons, and Martin Fehervary is leading the way.