2014 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images

Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.

On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.

Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.

Sad Swedes are sad.

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Connor Carrick rushes the puck up ice (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)

World Juniors semifinalists were determined on Thursday. Washington Capitals prospects combined for three points. Riley Barber had one assist to his name, while Andre Burakovsky recorded a pair of helpers.

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Report: Martin Erat Wants Out Of Washington

Photo credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images

That didn’t take long: forward Martin Erat, acquired from Nashville at the 2013 trade deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for top Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg, now says he wants to leave Washington.

Speaking with Czech news agency iDNES.cz and translated by our friend Lindsey Novak, Erat expresses dissatisfaction with the ice time he’s getting in Washington and seems eager to move on.

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The Capitals are Basically on Furlough

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Photo: Frederick Breedon

After Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, I figured their four days off this week would be a good thing. The team would get a chance to work on its 5v5 play, and the distance of time would give us a bit more clarity on a chaotic, young season.

Nope. I was wrong.

The Capitals don’t intend to tinker with their lines just yet, while the rest of the league seems dedicated to making Caps fans miserable. It’s been a four-day break in which players are still getting paid, but everyone still seems as grumpy as a non-essential government worker.

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WOOOOO! (Photo credit: John Russell)

The Filip Forsberg/Martin Erat trade still elicits strong reactions from Caps fans. (Like I’m warning you now, you’re going to want to bring a hatchet into the comments below because this one’s gonna get gory.)

Adam Oates has put Erat — George McPhee’s 32-year-old, $4.5 million toy — on the fourth line where he averages under 8 minutes a game. For Caps fans already unhappy with the trade, Erat’s modest utilization had them grinding their teeth.

After Tuesday night, those fans are gonna need a mouthguard. Maybe dentures. Forsberg scored the first goal of his NHL career, a snap shot on the power play, during Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Congrats, kid.

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Gets ya right in teh feels.

All you Matt Hendricks superfans out there, I ask that you please turn away, X out your browser, and retreat to your doomsday bunkers because this is the extinction-level event you’ve been prepping for. Former Washington Capitals grinder Matt Hendricks did an interview with the Nashville Predators in his new mustard yellow jersey. All of a sudden, it’s real.

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Filip Forsberg spoke to Swedish paper Expressen in the wake of his trade from the Capitals to the Nashville Predators. In an article by Gunnar Nordström and Adam Eriksson, Forsberg describes his reaction:

“It happened suddenly, I didn’t know anything about it until I read it. I spoke to my agent just now and he said it really went quickly, but that’s what happens in this world. All I can do is accept it.”

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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.

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Photo credit: Hannah Foslien

A little before 5pm, the Washington Capitals traded their future in the hopes of winning a Stanley Cup now: Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

Many people, including us, think that is a bad idea. Erat, while a top-six forward, is aging and well compensated. The Caps are now on the hook for his $4.5 million yearly salary for the next two seasons, with a salary cap that is going down by six million next year. He’s scored just four goals this year.

Washington, it seems, wants to win now. If they don’t — and remember it’s a toss-up and whether they’ll even make the playoffs — this trade will have been a bad idea. George McPhee, therefore, has some explaining to do. He did that Wednesday evening.

“I wasn’t going to sell,” McPhee told Monumental Network. “I wasn’t going to attempt to sell anything. We would add if we could and I think we added a real good piece.”

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Caps Trade Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat

Jeff Gross

Photo credit: Jeff Gross

Wednesday’s trade deadline was pretty tame for the Washington Capitals until a few minutes after 3 PM, when we heard Mike Vogel that the team had “something brewing.”

Then… about two hours of speculating and waiting. The Capitals were “incredibly mum” according to Bob McKenzie. The Caps Report video special with Alan May, Mike Vogel, and John Walton went into extra innings– vamping to fill time until the news broke. George McPhee declined to name the trade until all involved players were named.

Those players  turned out to be Martin Erat, a 31-year old RW lefty from Nashville, and Caps prospect Filip Forsberg. Nashville threw in Michael Latta as well.

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