NHL Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals Scratch Martin Erat

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Erat is having a lot of trouble making friends in the NHL this past year.

First, he demanded a trade from the Nashville Predators last April. Preds GM David Poile was less than thrilled, but ended up sending the unhappy winger to the Washington Capitals. It seemed like a pretty solid fit, adding a talented scorer to help out Alexander Ovechkin.

Of course, as we all know, that hasn’t been the case. In the 48 games Erat has played with Washington, he’s netted just one goal, none of which have come this current season. And so, just before Thanksgiving, he made his second public trade demand in just seven months.

As it stands, Erat is still a Capital. He reiterated his desire to be shipped a few weeks ago, but there haven’t been any rumors regarding a possible deal. Meanwhile, his pouting is doing nothing to help his playing time. In fact, in the last two games he’s played less than ten minutes. During the Capitals’ most recent game, a loss to the Minnesota Wild, Erat saw just over seven minutes of ice time. Typically, a player making $4.5 million a year sees a couple more minutes than that.

Well, as Washington prepares for their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, we now know that Erat will see even less time tonight.

It appears coach Adam Oates is designating Erat as a healthy scratch tonight, opting to instead play Aaron Volpatti. When asked what lead to his call to bench his mopey Czech forward, Oates simply stated “coach’s decision,” and that was that.

Erat can claim he’ll be a professional all he wants, but the fact is his handling of this situation is rubbing a lot of people within the organization the wrong way. It’s been almost two months since he began asking for a trade, and as every day passes, you have to imagine he’s getting more and more irritable. His statistics certainly don’t lend credence to the idea that Erat is going to continue competing during these trying times. And since the Capitals are hardly going to get a ton of offers thanks to this combination of whining and minimal scoring, the only thing they can do is keep him up in the press box and away from the team.

So, as Erat continues trying to find his way out of Washington, he’ll be watching tonight’s game from upstairs. While he’s there, here’s something he can consider as he wonders where the offers are at; exactly how many teams out there are dying to acquire a player who has more trade demands than goals since April?

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook