The trade deadline ended much the same way it started, with everyone in the hockey world waiting on a trade. When it finally came down, it was a stunner, as the Washington Capitals added yet another dynamic forward, acquiring Martin Erat and Michael Latta from the Nashville Predators in exchange for high-end prospect Filip Forsberg.
Erat, who waived his no-trade clause to join the Capitals, was drafted by the Predators organization in 1999 and debuted for the club in 2001. He's been a picture of consistency ever since, good for 50 points a season every year ince 2003-04. He leaves Nashville ranked second all-time in games played (723), goals (163), assists (318) and points (481) for the franchise.
The Capitals could get even more production out of an energized Erat, who admitted that he had requested a trade two weeks ago and supplied the Predators a list of 10 teams he'd be willing to join. He got his wish, and now, freed from Barry Trotz's system and paired with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the Capitals' top line, he could have a major impact. The Capitals can only hope so, since he has two more years left on a deal that pays him $4.5 million.
It's amazing to think that Washington leave deadline day as one of the most aggressive buyers, willing to trade the second-best prospect in their organization to get stronger now. After struggling for much of the season, they've come on strong of late, and were just two points out of first in the Southeast with two games in hand at the end of Tuesday night's games. They certainly look like they'll be in the playoff picture, and the addition of Erat makes their already formidable forwards even moreso.
But Forsberg could be a piece they regret moving in the future. The winger was the top-ranked European prospect heading into the 2012 NHL draft, where he was taken 11th overall, and he projects to be a very, very good player in the NHL. Erat may make the Capitals better now, but in time, Forsberg may be considered the superior player.
Right now, this is a two Milbury move. But down the road, we could be looking at it as a three or a four.
Finally, a word on Latta, who would be the forgotten third in this deal if not for a tweet he sent twelve minutes after the deadline had passed:
what else am i going to do for the rest of the day now the trade deadline is over? tough life
— Michael Latta (@Latta17) April 3, 2013
The answer: pack and report to his new team. There were still a few deals yet to be finalized when Latta fired the tweet. Ryan O'Byrne to the Maple Leafs. Jeff Deslauriers to the Wild. Patrick Kileen to the Coumbus Blue Jackets. Oh, and Latta to Washington as part of this trade.
Looks like the rest of his day will be a little more eventful than he thought.