There are a lot of different ways to describe this post’s title subject. For example:
- He is a 6’2”, 195lb winger with a well-rounded set of skills, in the prime of his career at the age of 31.
- He was once the key player dealt for the 4th overall pick in the 2002 draft.
- He is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, and the scorer of the game seven winner in 2004.
- He’s coming off his ninth consecutive season with 10+ goals and 25+ points, and has exceeded the 15-goal mark seven times and met or exceeded the 30-point mark eight times in those nine seasons.
However, perhaps the most important description for Fedotenko today is this one: he’ll be attending the New York Rangers’ training camp on a tryout basis. Despite his impressive NHL career and familiarity with head coach John Tortorella, he isn’t a sure thing to make the team either: the Rangers have a relatively deep group of left-wingers, and Fedotenko’s coming off a disappointing season.
That said, I think Fedotenko will make the team, and more than that I suspect that he’ll have a bounce back campaign. His goal-scoring is almost sure to bounce back: Fedotenko has a career shooting percentage of 12.7%, but shot just 7.0% this year. It was only the second time in his NHL career he was below the 10.0% mark; his previous low in 2006-07 was 7.8%, and he rebounded with a 13.2% mark the following season. Had Fedotenko fired at his career average rate last season, he would have scored 20 goals instead of 11.
Other percentages played a role in his plus/minus rating; both his on-ice shooting percentage and his on-ice save percentage were brutal. One interpretation would be that Fedotenko was able to simultaneously sabotage both the offensive and defensive capabilities of his teammates through poor play, but the one I subscribe to is that the combination was at least in large part the result of factors outside Fedotenko’s control, factors that are unlikely to be repeated again this season.
This was a no-risk move by the Rangers, and one that should work out well.