Photo: Patrick Smith
This was inevitable.
Capitals forward Martin Erat has been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Rostislav Klelsa, Chris Brown and a fourth-round draft pick. Capitals prospect
Garrett John Mitchell was also included in the deal.
Acquired at the 2013 deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for Caps prospect Filip Forsberg, Erat played 61 regular season games for the Capitals, recording 2 goals and 24 assists.
Erat’s 2013 season was limited by injury. As 2013-14 began, Erat had fallen out of favor with coach Adam Oates. Assigned to the fourth line for the first few weeks, Erat was not used as the top-six forward he was purported to be, and his stats suffered. He did not score until the final game before the Olympic break, an empty-netter.
After several games as a scratch, Erat requested a trade on November 25th. It took three months, but that trade has finally come through.
This is just one of many chapters in the saga of George McPhee’s asset management. Martin Erat was traded for Filip Forsberg, who was drafted in a pick acquired for Semyon Varlamov, who was drafted in a pick acquired for Brendan Witt, who was drafted by the Caps in 1993. Erat could have been an indispensable top-six forward for the Caps through 2015, but that did not happen.
Erat’s talents were certainly wasted by Adam Oates, but his individual performance had been in decline long before he came to the Capitals.
On April 3rd of last year, I called Forsberg-Erat a bad trade. That ended up being correct, but I was absolutely wrong about how. Erat ended up being a terrific player for the Caps, one of the best playmakers on the roster– even if the boxcar stats didn’t testify so. He still represented an overconfidence in the team’s ability to win in the spring of 2013, but Martin was never a problem on the ice. The only problem was how little ice Oates gave him. That forced McPhee’s hand, and here we are.
The saga continues.
We will have more coverage on the trade later.
UPDATE: Here’s the press release from the Caps
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forwards Martin Erat and John Mitchell, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Brown, 23, played in six games with the Coyotes this season, collecting 17 penalty minutes. In addition, he recorded 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) and 68 penalty minutes in 51 games with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League (AHL). Last season, Brown led the Pirates and all AHL rookies in scoring (29 goals) and ranked tied for third in the AHL with 14 power-play goals. He also made his NHL debut and
During the 2011-12 season, Brown recorded 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) and 66 penalty minutes in 38 games with University of Michigan (CCHA), setting career highs in assists, points and penalty minutes. Brown led all Michigan rookies in 2009-10 with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists), and led the team with seven power-play goals in 45 games. He was also named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Brown registered 80 points (34 goals, 46 assists) and 183 penalty minutes in 125 regular season games during his three-year career with the Wolverines. The Flower Mound, Texas native was the first ever Michigan recruit from the state of Texas.
Prior to his career at Michigan, Brown played for the United States National Under-18 Team at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). As an 18-year-old, he recorded 38 points (20 goals, 18 assists) and a team-leading 120 penalty minutes in 62 games in 2008-09 and also ranked second on the team with 10 power play goals. He helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the 2009 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in North Dakota, collecting seven points (four goals, three assists) in seven games.
In addition, Brown also won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York, registering three points (two goals, one assist) in six games and a gold medal at the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Brown was selected by the Coyotes in the second round (36th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Klesla, 31, collected four points (one goal, three assists) and 24 penalty minutes with the Coyotes this season. The native of Novy Jicin, Czech Republic, is a 14-year NHL veteran who has played for Columbus and Phoenix. The 6’3’’, 215-pound defenseman has appeared in 659 NHL games, recording 159 points (48 goals, 111 assists) and 620 penalty minutes. Additionally, Klesla has collected nine points (two goals, seven assists) and 11 penalty minutes in 23 career playoff games. Klesla was originally drafted by the Blue Jackets in the first round (fourth overall) in the 2000 NHL Draft.
Both Brown and Klesla will report to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
Erat, 32, collected 24 points (one goal, 23 assists) and 22 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Capitals this season. Mitchell, 27, recorded six points (three goals, three assists) in 20 games with the Bears this season.