Ever since the Washington Capitals acquired Martin Erat from the Nashville Predators at the 2013 trade deadline, it has appeared that the marriage was destined to end in a disaster. Neither Washington nor Erat was really a good fit for each other from the start, as the team is stocked with high-end talent that has precluded the player from gaining a chance to find a top-six forward role.
This issue has been exemplified at the beginning of the 2013-14 season as Erat has averaged a measly 13:08 on the ice per game, picking up a total of six assists in 23 games. For a guy that has picked up 49 points or more the last eight seasons, this will never sit well; and after being a healthy scratch in the Capitals’ most recent game, it makes sense that he would be livid.
On Monday morning, Erat let it be known that he wants to be traded as soon as possible. He told Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,“I want to be traded. We’ll see how it goes. Since day one, I didn’t get the chance here. I got traded here to be a top-six player but never got the chance, never played more than 15 minutes in here and it’s time for me to move on.”
Once Erat made this announcement, the internet exploded, mocking the Capitals for acquiring the forward in the first place and claiming that he will bring nothing in return from another trade. And while this would be true if the forward simply has nothing left in the tank, it simply is not the case with Erat.
At 32 years of age and possessing a skill oriented style of play, he should age very well, with this belief only being aided by the forward playing 64 or more games in each of the last eight full NHL seasons.
Furthermore, a rather affordable $4.5 million cap hit for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons will surely lead many teams to be enamored with Erat, and could lead the Capitals to pick up the top-four defenseman they desperately need. With guys such as Tim Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes and Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers available on the market, there will surely be a match for the forward at some point.
And while Capitals coach Adam Oates will not like having Erat around the locker room prior to this move, there is no doubting that in the long term, the forward asking for the trade will benefit the club in the end. They may not get a guy as talented as Filip Forsberg – who was traded for Erat at the deadline — but getting a talented defenseman could be the key to bringing the Stanley Cup to Washington for the first time ever.