Martin Erat didn’t come to the Washington Capitals cheaply. He didn’t just sign his name by an X and jump on board as a free agent. The cost of Erat was the outstanding and dynamic young center Filip Forsberg.
For whatever reason, the Washington Capitals thought they’d be better with Erat than they would be with Forsberg, and they pulled the trigger on the deal with the Nashville Predators. While Forsberg hasn’t been tearing it up for the Preds, at least he has a goal and an assist to his name this season.
That’s more than Erat can say, who has zero points through Washington’s first seven games. Tack on the struggles of supposed No. 2 center Mikhail Grabovski, and the Forsberg-for-Erat swap looks even worse.
Hindsight is perfect though, and now the Capitals must figure out what to do with Erat, who has always been a central part of his team’s offense throughout his career. He recently spoke to the Washington Post, and was pretty candid about his frustrations:
I have no idea what’s going on. I’m just trying to stay positive and hope this is just a bump in the road and see how it goes. It’s not my position to be in this. I’m not 21 years old waiting for somebody to get hurt or somebody to play bad. It’s not in my system, In my 12 years I’ve never played less than 10 minutes. It’s kind of new for me. I have to stay in shape in case something happens, but we’ll see what’s going to happen.
In case something happens? Something like getting traded? Has the situation in Washington already soured so badly that Erat is making cries for help through the media?
It’s tough to blame him for his aggravation though. He waived his no-movement clause to be a Capital and to try and help the team win a Stanley Cup. He saw a situation he liked in Washington, and left the only team he’d ever known in Nashville after suiting up for the Preds for nearly 11 years.
Now he’s watching from the bench as players like Joel Ward and Jason Chimera garner more ice time than him. That has to be a tough pill to swallow for a veteran like Erat.
It’s odd that he’s on the fourth line too, considering how badly the Capitals need help in the offensive zone. Coach Adam Oates likely has some kind of plan, even if it isn’t readily apparent at the moment.