Photo: Bruce Bennett

With Vladimir Sobotka sidelined due to a leg injury, the Czechs have called upon Martin Erat to fill their ranks in Sochi. Erat has yet to score a goal this season, but he has put up some strong underlying numbers and is tied for fourth in assists on the Capitals.

Not everybody agrees with the pick.

But despite inferior boxcar stats, Erat compares pretty favorably with Hudler. He drives more shots towards the opponent’s net despite inferior teammates and fewer shifts started in the offensive zone, and he hasn’t enjoyed hardly as much power play time as Hudler. It’s a close call for sure, but I think the Czech team made the right call here.

Your thoughts?

From the Caps:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 4, 2014

Martin Erat Named to Czech Republic Olympic Team

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals left wing Martin Erat will represent the Czech Republic at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Czech Republic announced Erat was added to the team’s 25-man roster today.

Erat, 32, will be making his third Olympic appearance. The 6’0”, 202-pound left wing won a bronze medal with the Czech Republic at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, recording two points (one goal, one assist) in eight games. Erat scored a goal in the bronze medal game. The Trebic, Czech Republic, native earned one assist in five games at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Erat has represented the Czech Republic in one World Junior Championship (2001) and three World Championships (2006, 2008, 2012).

Erat has skated in 48 games with the Capitals this season, collecting 21 assists and 20 penalty minutes. In 780 career NHL games with Nashville and Washington, Erat has recorded 505 points (164 goals, 341 assists) and 450 penalty minutes. Erat joins Capitals teammates Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden), John Carlson (United States) and Alex Ovechkin (Russia) in representing their respective countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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  • Sorry Erat

    Maybe they can be convinced to keep him.

  • I have Erat potting one tonight. Take that to your bank #the #bank #thebank

  • Jack Conness

    Good for Marty. It has been tough for him in Washington and I’ve been on his side throughout this mess. I hope this gives him some confidence and he plays well.

  • Shawn Murphy

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR OLYMPIC HOCKEY YOU GUYS I can’t even make valid comment thread contributions

  • Brackaphobia

    An Olympic berth, a new daughter on the way…Ratty must be pumped! (Am I the only one that calls him that?) I wish I could say with certainty that Ovi will assist an Erat goal tonight.

    But it will probably be the other way around.

  • Sjomin

    Pretty hard to see the boys coming back without a couple of medals now. Canada, Finland and Slovakia won’t hog them all.

  • Igor Kleyner

    This one probably has nothing to do with stats, advanced or stupid. Czech roster is very thin on forwards, esp wingers who are good defensively; Sobotka would probably be their 1st choice on PK. Hudler is very good at some things, but PK/defense is not one of them. I would not be surprised if Marty gets a lot of tough minutes in Sochi

  • Chris Cerullo

    Hudler being left off that team is still so weird. But, congrats to Marty.

  • Shaun Phillips

    The Olympics will be the first serious ice-time he’s gotten all year (except for the last week or so). Hopefully he does well and boosts his trade value (not that I want him traded, but guessing he still wants out).

  • Roy Schue

    Guess you were wrong, weren’t you

  • Roy Schue

    I wish they would, he’s a joke

  • Jenstatz8

    I’m soooo so happy for Marty!!! Great guy, great player. Well deserved