The Nashville Predators may have traded away their leading scorer heading in to Wednesday’s trade deadline, but what they got in return may help them out for many years to come. The Predators traded Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals, and were able to get 2012 first-round pick Filip Forsberg in return. Forsberg is a young and talented winger currently playing in Sweden who has starred for his home country in several international competitions.
Erat had spent all 12 of his NHL seasons with the Predators, and was tied for the team scoring lead with four goals and 21 points this season. He has scored 163 goals and recorded 481 points in his career. While he will help the Capitals this season, they paid a high price for his services in giving up their most recent top draft pick. Latta is a 2009 third-round pick who has spent the past two seasons with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals. He scored 14 goals and had 27 points and 100 penalty minutes in his rookie season, and had nine goals, 35 points and 184 penalty minutes through 67 games this season. The Capitals sent him down to their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Forsberg was the top-rated European forward heading into last year’s draft, and currently plays for Leksands IF. He helped Sweden take home a gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship, and was also a member of the silver-medal-winning team in 2013. He also turned in standout performances at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2010 and 2011 IIHF U18 World Championship. Forsberg is expected to be a top-line contributor at the NHL level, and the thought of him pairing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom was something to get excited about.
The Capitals clearly wanted to win now, and will have to reach at least the second round of the playoffs to justify this trade. The Predators may not go deep in the playoffs this season, but they now have a highly-regarded prospect to build with in future seasons.