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Another Look At A Bad Trade

One of the more surprising moves at the trade deadline this year was the Washington Capitals trading 2012 first round pick Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Martin Erat and minor leaguer Michael Latta.  I picked this as a good longterm move for Nashville and a bad longterm move for Washington.  There are few players with Forsberg`s potential and you don`t give them up unless you get something significant in return.  The only justification for the deal was that Martin Erat was a difference maker, but he hasn`t been.  Erat has been a non-factor in his four playoff games so far.  He hasn`t scored any points.  He missed game five with an upper body injury and it isn`t clear if he will be back.  Even if he is healthy, Washington may not want him back in the lineup and will use his injury status to help save face.

Including the regular season, Erat has played 13 games for Washington.  In that time he has one goal and two assists.  He hasn`t been a significant player for the Caps.  He is signed for the next two seasons with a $4.5 million salary cap hit.  That makes him look overpriced going into the future.  The saving grace for Erat is that he isn`t actually paid $4.5 million in either of those seasons.  He is to be paid $3.75 million next year and $2.25 million in the final year of his current front-laded contract. 

I don`t see how Washington can win this deal.  Their only hope is that Forsberg does not become a serious NHL player.  He was rushed to the NHL at the end of the Swedish season this year and didn`t look ready for a regular NHL role yet.  The only hope for Washington to win this deal is for Forsberg to not improve and grow into an NHL job.  That is unlikely given his pedigree.

Martin Erat has failed to make an impact in Washington this year.  While it wasn`t expected that he would be the best player on the team, a lot more was expected than this.  The Washington Capitals giving up a big piece of their future for a player who is a second liner at best looked like a mistake when it was made and it looks even worse today.  This is an example of a trade that no NHL GM should consider making.

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Bossy_Rules's avatar

31 is older than people realize for a hockey player.  I think most people hear 31 and think the player is still in their prime but usually they are 2 or 3 years past their prime by that point and well into the decline phase. 

I’m not saying that Erat is necessarily through, I think he’s still a pretty good player but I think GMs need to adjust the way they think about player age.  If they did I don’t think this trade would have been made. 

I defense of Washington, the playoffs really are a crap shoot.  I don’t really think they are such a longshot because luck plays such a large role.  So the argument that they don’t have a realistic chance to win the cup therefore sacrificing the future for this year is foolish, isn’t really a good one.  Any team that gets in has a real chance to win it all.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 05/12/13 at 06:52 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I argue that the difference that Erat makes on Washington winning vs. not winning the cup is so small that it wasn`t worth paying anything as significant as Forsberg to obtain it.  Maybe a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick would have been closer to a fair price.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 05/12/13 at 06:59 PM ET


Maybe a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick would have been closer to a fair price.

Unfortunately that’s not a realistic price for a deadline trade like that.

Or course, if Erat works out well, puts up numbers and helps the Caps to a cup, it would be a great trade for them.

Posted by Garth on 05/12/13 at 07:27 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

A 3rd round pick was the price for Raffi Torres at the trade deadline and he has outperformed Erat since the trade.  Torres is a 2nd or 3rd liner on his new team just like Erat.  Neither is worth a Filip Forsberg.

Or course, if Erat works out well, puts up numbers and helps the Caps to a cup, it would be a great trade for them.

It isn`t reality that Erat works out and leads the Caps to a Cup.  It was a pretty poor bet the day it was made and looks worse now.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 05/12/13 at 09:09 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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