The presence of Taylor Fedun kick started the Amerks back to winning ways of Sunday night. The team is now 12-9 in the twenty-one games he has put on an Amerks sweater, and 9-21 without him. In addition to a great overall game he registered an assist bringing him to 18 points on the year and 0.86 points a game. He trails only Cal O’Reilly and Cole Schneider (.93 and .94). I am going to rate his performance a B+.
Offensive production is without question the most important aspect of Fedun’s game. His ability to skate the puck has been a difference maker since he arrived in Rochester. Sunday night was more of the same. Fedun led the breakout with patience under pressure and executed a few of his trademark two line stretch passes. His ability to find the sticks of his teammates is unrivaled by anyone on the roster. The area the Amerks missed his talents the most was on the power play.
However, in his return they were 0-4 with a man advantage. His ability to skate the puck made zone entry a breeze, his passing on the point opened countless shooting lanes, but Fedun’s shooting was awful. During a 5 on 3 he earned himself four open shots; three missed the net and the other slammed into the crest of a fellow Amerk. He had several other chances to find the net and continuously failed to hit the target. It was the one flaw in an otherwise perfect offensive game.
Defensively, he was equally up to the task for fifty-five minuets. Even in the absence of a physical presence Fedun played a huge role. On the rush, he was able to use his speed to stay in front of players and poke the puck away consistently. He also made a couple aggressive moves to step in front of forwards to intercept the puck and create a chance the other way. Unfortunately with five minuets remaining the wheels started to fall off when he took a bad hooking penalty. On a night when all of Bridgeport’s goals came on the power play it could have proved costly. When he got back on the ice he was like a deer in the headlights. With a sixth man on the ice, and the Senators were pumping rubber Fedun was unable to handle the physicality of the forwards in front of the net. Fortunately, Ullmark was able to freeze the puck and then Cal was able to see out the game with back-to-back clutch face off wins.
It’s clear that Fedun has earned his place among Rochester’s best players this year. I think he has definitely proved that he can contribute to an NHL roster as well. What isn’t clear is how 29 other teams allowed him to clear waivers on Saturday. Playmaking defenseman like Fedun are a hot commodity in todays game; I think it is imperative that the organization make resigning him a huge priority in the offseason.