by PuckStopsHere on 05/12/13 at 06:02 PM ET
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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