Fehr Or Foul: Sharks Acquire a Fourth-line Center, But Is He the Solution? - NBC Bay Area

Fehr Or Foul: Sharks Acquire a Fourth-line Center, But Is He the Solution?

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    Fehr or Foul: Sharks acquire a fourth-line center, but is he the solution?

    UPDATE (3:57 PM PST): Fehr will join the Sharks in Nashville on Wednesday, according to the Bay Area News Group's Paul Gackle. This article has been updated to reflect that. 

    Trade season has arrived in San Jose, after the Sharks acquired a veteran center on Tuesday. 

    Six days before the NHL trade deadline, the Sharks traded a 2020 seventh round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Eric Fehr. 

    The 32-year-old center has spent the bulk of his season on loan to the AHL's San Diego Gulls, after he went unclaimed on waivers in October. In 34 games with the Gulls, who play in the same division as the Sharks' AHL affiliate, Fehr scored 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists). 

    The Bay Area News Group reported last month that the Sharks were in the market for a fourth-line center, and Ryan Carpenter, Barclay Goodrow, and Danny O'Regan all got looks at the position. Carpenter was waived after scoring an assist in 16 games, but has scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in 13 games since the Vegas Golden Knights claimed him in December.

    Goodrow had not played the position professionally prior to this season, but acquitted himself reasonably well, all things considered: He's posted the best five-on-five possession numbers of his career (51.1 percent corsi-for percentage), and scored a career-high five goals in 30 games. O'Regan, the Barracuda's leading scorer last season, hasn't been able to seize a regular role and has seemed overmatched at times. 

    Fehr, meanwhile, is a more proven option, with some utility to boot. He's not played less than a minute-and-a-half on the penalty kill since 2013-14, according to Natural Stat Trick, and suppresses opposing shots pretty well for a fourth line center, per Own The Puck

    It's also fair to question whether or not his best hockey is behind him. As mentioned previously, he's 32 and spent the majority of his season in the AHL, plus he hasn't been a positive five-on-five possesion player relative to his teammates since 2013-14.

    The Sharks didn't give up much, as their last pick in a draft two years away is close to nothing. But, they had an opportunity to acquire the forward at no cost when he was first placed on waivers in October, and he went unclaimed. 

    Fehr will join his new teammates Wednesday in Nashville. He's spent all but one of his 13 NHL seasons in the Eastern Conference, but does have some familiarity with San Jose. 

    He scored against the Sharks in game four of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, and played alongside Joel Ward in Washington from 2013-15.