Photo via @SteeChain

When I got home from work tonight, I ate my feelings in homemade Hawaiian pizza (thanks, Ashley). I’m bummed about the Erat/Forsberg trade. As much as I love this team, I worry they are just not that great, getting older, and not actually improving along with their win-loss record. I hoped the Caps would flip some guys in the final years of their contracts for picks and prospects, but instead George McPhee did the opposite: trading part of the Caps’ future, Filip Forsberg, for Martin Erat, a 31-year-old left wing who is 249th in goal scoring and has a cap hit of $4.5 million. The team is better now, but I don’t know about their future.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who is ambivalent. A few minutes after the trade was announced, Forsberg’s Wikipedia page was defaced. Like five times.

The final paragraph of Forsberg’s biography read like this:

On April 3, 2013, Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.[sic] which might go down as the worst trade ever in the Washington Captials[sic] history.

It was then changed to this:

On April 3, 2013, Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.[sic] which might go down as the best trade ever in the Washington Captials [sic] history.

And then, my favorite:

On April 3, 2013, Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. [sic] which might go down as the worst trade ever in the Washington Captials [sic] history, but there is NO WAY OF KNOWING THIS FOR ABOUT 2-3 YEARS [sic, but a good point].

The page was eventually fixed, but not without some commentary:

On April 3, 2013, Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Capitals fans are mad, for good reasons.

Personally, I think the Jagr trade is, was, and will always will be the worst in Washington Capitals– and possibly human– history. And really, who knows how Forsberg will develop as he gets older. He might be a plug.

Regardless, McPhee sent a message to his team and its fans: Future be darned; we’re making the playoffs this year. I get that. But it seems I’m not alone in my wariness over this move.

Tagged with:
  • Don’t like the trade one bit. I’m going to force myself to give it time. But I don’t like it. However, I’m not furious, by any means. At least he’s going out west? Nah, don’t care. Still don’t like it. But not really, really pissed off either. Is this called sifting through my feelings?

  • Forsburghwuzhere

    Just admit you had never heard of Martin Erat before today.

  • You are not the only one who is wary about it! I said the same thing, I thought this may have been a hasty move. I’m certainly unsettled by it and hope that McPhee does prove me wrong.

  • I just had a brilliant idea: Let’s make Erat a left wing since he’s left handed, and then all will be well! Why didn’t I think of that sooner!

  • GMGM and Ted have been preaching the future of this team for a long time. Constantly talking about building, building, building. Half of me is sick of hearing it and wants a team that can go deep and win a cup; but half of me has bought into the idea of the “Future Caps.” So I am torn with the decision to trade a prospect for immediate returns.

    That being said…this year’s team doesn’t even have a play-off spot secured, and even if it does, will be a pretty weak contender. If we were going to trade off prospects or young players for better play-off runs we would have been better off doing it a few years ago.

    Finally, if we are gonna trade our second best prospect and one of the top 10 (maybe even top 5) in the NHL, could we not have done better than Erat. I have nothing against him; in fact I think he is a good strong veteran player, but he is a 15-20 goal scorer at best and in decline at the end of his career. In a trading pool with Pominville, Iginla, and Gaborik, we could have done way better.

  • Hahaha. His last name sounds like ferret, so of course I have! In all seriousness, I watched him a lot the year Ward went crazy for the Preds in the playoffs. I knew about him long before that too. He’s a pretty good player.

  • Only time will tell but I certainly wouldn’t trade my future on a lockout season. Would be great to make it in this year but much more important in the next at least 10 years to come. This kind of thing will forever happen until Ted says, that does it your fired. Martin is good, at least prior to this year so we shall see.

  • scott

    If they had gotten a draft pick or something that would help the future our more it wouldnt be so bad, but a 31 year old not top 6 forward. Also he is more or less another rental with 1 year after this left on his contract.

    Then again maybe forsberg is going to stay for another full season, we dont know.

  • I think I’ve got a post in the RMNB archive somewhere declaiming how awesome Nashville’s turnaround has been and Erat’s role in it.

  • George is kinda right…. We have been drafting well, and we still have our 1st round selection, so………………………………………………….

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Someone pointed this out before. Technically this is connected to the worst trade in Caps history.

    Scott Stevens = Gonchar > ShaMo. + 1st (Schultz)
    Witt > Beech + 1st (Varly). Varly > 1st (Forsberg) > Erat / Latta
    I don’t want to bring up the other 1st rounders that were compensated for Stevens. yuck!

  • Hockeynightincanada

    What’s not to hear of? He played with Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont on Nashville and it was one of their top scoring lines in the middle years between lockouts. Average 50 point guy. Not too good, not too bad. Just right? Maybe.

  • WisconsinCapsFan

    A few things here. Although I am not a fan of this trade, I think there has been an overreaction on how inconceivable this was. First point: Forsberg. He is a top end talent who has been highly rated and touted and slipped in the draft to fall into the caps laps. But he did slip and there has to be reason for it. Also, he hasn’t proven anything in the NHL or AHL ranks (not a main argument just pointing it out). And if there is anything the caps need, as much as no one wants to hear it, the caps only have a small window left to win a Stanley Cup with the franchise changing and SAVING player Ovechkin. And with that window closing, the caps need to add complimentary pieces to achieve this goal. They need grit, they need players with leadership, something that was missing in the most talented caps 2009-10 team (and a goaltender of course). ‘Well, they need scoring too’-caps fan complaining about this trade. That’s why we didn’t trade Kuznetov, who is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, whatever age he is at the time, players in the world. He will be in the mix sooner rather than later. So, yes, the caps have given up some of their future, but they owe it to ovechkin to try and put together a cup winning team. Forsberg may (or may not) have been a few years away.

    Next point (shorter), if you really think out it, the trade for Ribero, in hindsight, was a great deal for the caps. So, coming out on the plus side of that and the minus end of Forsberg it kinda evens out. Forsberg, Eakin and a 2nd rounder for Ribero and Erat. If you offered me that, I’d take it.

    Finally, although GMGM may be feeling a little heat and maybe was not seeing with his usual clarity, he’s been a proven damn good drafter. And in the future it has to be expected the caps with part way with either Grubauer or Nuevy (hoping for the latter) and its possible one of them with garner a 1st to 2nd round draft pick.

    So like I said, not all to happy with the trade but I don’t its A) trading away the caps future or B) the worst trade of all time (time could prove me wrong however.)

    go caps

    ps-wish the caps could have traded Shultz for some pucks or something and gotten rid of him and that contract

  • Everything im reading about Michael Latta is astounding. Looks like HE might actually be the one we traded for. Leads his team in pims AND is 2nd in scoring. Another Tom Wilson?

  • Jeff Schultz was a first rounder? wow……………….

  • Hockeynightincanada

    He was selected 27th overall….two spots ahead of Mike Green (selected 29th).

  • Brent Goldstein

    If Forsberg turns out to be Nick Backstrom, then horrible trade. If Forsberg turns out to be Marcus Johansson, then great trade. We won’t know for several years. If we pull a LA Kings and make a run to the Stanley Cup this season, nobody will even remember this trade.

  • Anze Kopitar compared to Forsberg in the hockeyAllsvenskan 2012-13:

    Anze Kopitar: 31 GP 10G 24A 34P 14PIM -2

    Filip Forsberg: 38 GP 15G 18A 33P 16PIM +11

  • Yup.

  • Forsburghwuzhere

    Not the RMNB guys but erryone who’s freakin out about the trade.

    So you got attached to the idea of a Forsberg, and now its hard to see him walk. You see, he’s like a pidgey…….

    Appreciate all the work you guys do on the blog. One of the best sites out there, not even just for sports.

  • My first post here and by no means an expert on hockey, but I’ve been a fan since the late 80’s.

    My question to all those talking about the long-term prospects of Forsberg vs. the immediate gain of Erat is:

    At what point do we stop looking ot the future and focus instead on the present? By the time Forsberg is ready to be a real contributor in the NHL, are current top players will be well into the downslope of their careers. Is Forsberg ever going to replave Ovie or Backstrom? Doesn’t seem like he’s blowing people away at his current level to point to that kind of future.

    On the flip side, the East this year has one great team that just lost the best player in the world indefinitely. Every other team in the conference is beatable. The Caps may not be great, but recent play has shown them to be solid anf they WILL be the 3 seed thanks to an unbelievably pathetic division. Yes, I’m probably a homer, but I believe they can compete this year.

    We have a very small window left with the “young guns.” We either completely blow the team up now or stop looking 5 years out and make a push this season and next. For once, I think GMGM made the right call.

  • Andrew Freeman

    Would you trade Joe Sakic for Dale Hunter?
    Or would you trade the 16th pick in the 1987 Draft for Dale Hunter?

  • PotiMouth

    I’m ambivalent about trading Forsberg, but I’m going to play point-counterpoint.

    Two of the main reasons why we don’t currently have a playoff spot secured are 1) a slow start with a new coach after only a few days of training camp, and 2) injuries to Laich, Mojo, and a lot of our D (Green, Erskine, Hillen, Kundratek, Orlov, Poti, did I miss anyone else?). The only way the first reason affects the team anymore is the spot it’s put us in the standings – and that’s 2 points out of third with 2 (!) games in hand. The second reason isn’t hampering the team nearly as much at the moment with most players back or returning soon. The team is playing pretty well now that they’re not set back in these two ways, so that provides some decent reason for optimism – especially in the Southeast division where we’ve proven we can beat the two teams we’re competing with.

    Also, the fact that bigger names were traded (and perhaps for less) doesn’t mean that they were fits here. It seems clear to me that the organization is committed to Oates sticking around and, given that he *really* likes righties on the right and lefties on the left, we should accommodate that. As GMGM said, we’re pretty stacked on the right side now (and into the future) and could use more skill on the left in the top 6. Iginla and Pominville aren’t a fit for that reason, plus Iginla didn’t list us as a team he’d accept a trade to. Gaborik is a lefty who’d have to transition to LW, but look at his contract – $7.5M – is that a fit? Finally, the cost of Erat is only raised by the fact that he has two years left on his contract. Looking at his goal totals only obscures what kind of player you’re getting in him, especially considering he’s been in a defensive system.

  • Erat is probably going to suck in DC. This trade is going to go down as hilariously bad for the Caps.

  • Sounds like they hope Latta can become another power forward in the NHL. Did including him in this trade a message that the Caps are going to try to become a tougher team in the future?

  • I am a huge fan of RMNB, but the negativity you guys have constantly putting into this trade is just annoying. The Capitals got a good player and a promising prospect for a slightly more promising prospect. We have filled a hole the team needed. I am indifferent about this trade, I don’t know what to think, but that should just mean it was a pretty even trade.

  • jennrubenstein

    i just read the article about what his teammates in milwaukee were saying (he actually retweeteed it) and it got me excited about him. sounds like the player everyone loved, both the fans and his teammates.

  • G

    McPhee knows his time is short, if caps don’t make playoffs this year he’s most likely out of DC. This was a dumb and desperate move…