The Martin Erat situation for the Washington Capitals has official gone from troubling to embarrassing, as the disgruntled winger went public with a trade demand on Monday morning.
“I want to be traded. We’ll see how it goes,” Erat said following Monday’s practice in Arlington. “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.”
Erat’s gotten the tough love treatment from Coach Adam Oates this season … well, minus the love. He’s played on the fourth line. He was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career on Saturday.
He actually has received looks in the Capitals’ top six this season, but couldn’t sustain the role in the lineup. But that came after he played less than 12 minutes per game in his first seven games of the season. He has just six points and zero goals in 23 games. "Bust" is too kind a label.
Oates doesn’t like him for some reason, and it’s a recent development this season. You know what you get when the coach likes you? Power play time, if you’re a scoring winger. Erat had 9:55 of power-play time in nine games last season; this season, he has just 14:59 in 23 games. That’s 39 seconds of man advantage time per game. That’s less than Eric Fehr.
So Erat requests a trade … again.
Please recall last season when Erat demanded a trade from the Nashville Predators, leaving GM David Poile “disappointed” in his decision. So Poile traded Erat to the GM’s old stomping grounds in D.C. with Michael Latta for blue-chip prospect Filip Forsberg.
The immediate reaction from the hockey punditry was that Poile robbed the Capitals: Erat is 32, is signed through 2015 at a $4,500,000 cap hit with a contract that carries a no-movement clause. Forsberg was seen as a potential top line power forward, and has shown flashes of that potential already.
The Caps made a move to win the Cup; the Predators made a move for tomorrow. Tomorrow appears to have won the day, although Latta’s a nice depth player. Hell, maybe we look back at this as the Michael Latta trade one day.
Who’s taking Erat, who has more trade demands than playoff goals in the last year? Maybe if he was in his walk year it’d be easier, but this smells of summer buyout. Unless the situation is just that toxic that he’ll move for peanuts.
The irony in all of this for GM George McPhee is that he’s been someone, traditionally, that’s held onto the Capitals’ prospects and other assets, almost to a fault, during his time in Washington. Then he trades one for a top six player, who becomes a fourth liner demanding a trade within a span of months.
GMGM bashers are going to quote this deal chapter-and-verse if Forsberg becomes a star.