MartinErat

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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Forsberg (center) celebrates Leksand’s promotion to the Elitserien with his teammates. (Photo credit: Aftonbladet)

Last Friday afternoon, Capitals General Manager George McPhee discussed the organization’s top prospects, including 2012 first-round pick Filip Forsberg. McPhee made it clear that he’d like the 18-year-old Swede to join the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears after his season is finished with Leksand on April 5th.

But if Leksand General Manager Tommy Salo has his way, Forsberg will stay in Sweden for one more season.

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Photo credit: leksandsif.se

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke with Mike Vogel on Thursday to discuss a variety of issues. He covered his plans for the upcoming trade deadline (more on that later) and his vision for the club in the future. That vision certainly includes first-round pick Filip Forsberg, a talented winger who was recently named the HockeyAllsvenskan’s best under-20 player and was a World Junior Championships All-Star. McPhee announced today that he’d like Filip Forsberg to join the Hershey Bears when his season concludes on April 5th.

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Photo credit: svenskafans.com

Filip Forsberg was impressive in Leksands IF’s first game of the Kvalserien, scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over Michael Nylander’s Sodertalje SK. On Thursday, the 2012 first-round pick was at it again, this time tallying two more goals in a 8-3 blowout win over Timra IK.

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

When the Washington Capitals let Alex Semin walk last summer, they left a big hole in their top six. That hole has not been permanently filled yet, but there are two talented draft picks who might be a good fit in the future: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Filip Forsberg.

While Kuznetsov is still more than a full season away, Forsberg could be donning a Washington Capitals or Hershey Bears jersey as soon as this year.

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Photo credit: dt.se

After winning the HockeyAllsvenskan’s regular-season championship, Leksands IF and Caps prospect Filip Forsberg secured a place in the Kvalserien — a 10-game round-robin tournament featuring the four best Allsvenskan teams and two worst Elitserien teams. The franchises duke it out to decide which two clubs will play in the top-tier Elitserien next season.

Leksand got a few weeks of rest before tourney while other teams fought for wildcard spots. The break sure seemed to help Leksand, who beat Sodertalje SK and the Nylanders 3-1 in the Kvalserien’s first game in front of a sizable crowd (6,772). Forsberg showed off his skill and speed, scoring twice in the win. His second goal was the game-winner.

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Filip Forsberg

Photo credit: hockeyallsvenskan.se

Washington Capitals 2012 first round pick, Filip Forsberg, received a prestigious honor today. The forward was named the best under-20 player of the season in the HockeyAllsvenskan. Forsberg, who finished the season with 14 goals, 17 assists, and a plus-minus of plus-14, also captained the Swedish World Junior Championship team which won the silver medal this year and did the Gangnam Style dance multiple times to utter perfection.

“Lots of players have played well in the league, but of course I’m really happy to win the award,” Forsberg was quoted by the league and translated by friend-of-the-blog Jake Ware. “I’m a bit shocked as the competition was tough. I though Mikael Wikstrand was the favorite with all the points he’s put up.”

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Michael and William Nylander. (Photo credit: Scanpix)

Michael Nylander appeared in only parts of four seasons with the Washington Capitals, but he’s remembered by fans both for his play and the way he left the organization. The talented Swedish center played on the early 2000’s Capitals teams with Peter Bondra, Olie Kolzig, and Jaromir Jagr. He also helped mentor Nicklas Backstrom in a second tour with the team from 2007-2009.

But after signing a four-year $19.5 million contract to be the top center of the Caps in 2007, Nyles tore his rotator cuff and was never the same. With the Capitals near the top of the salary cap and Nylander unhappy with his role, they loaned the Swede to the Detroit Red Wings organization in 2009-10 (who then assigned him to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL) and then to the Florida Panthers during the last year of his contract in 2010-11 (who later assigned him to Rochester). Nylander, who broke his neck 7 games into his stint with the Americans, then continued his career in Europe the next season in the Swiss National League A.

Since then, the 40-year-old Nylander has returned to his native home of Sweden to finish his career in the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan. And for a good reason.

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There’s Hope: Filip Forsberg Lights it Up in Sweden

Filip Forsberg beats Almtuna IS goalie and WJC teammate Joel Lassinantti. (Photo credit: Leksands IF)

The Capitals are awful. You know that. Why do you even care anymore? Why not just go buy vodka and mint chocolate chip ice cream and watch Downton Abbey until the pain goes away?

No. There is some hope in the distance. Evengy Kuznetsov says he crossing the pond as soon as his contact in the KHL is finished (more on that later), and 2012 first-round pick Filip Forsberg is lighting it up in Sweden.

In the nine games since he returned from the World Junior Championship, Forsberg has four goals and eleven points. He also has 30 points in 31 games, which ranks him as one of the best in the league in points per game. Forsberg, one of the youngest players in the league, would also be among the league leaders in points if he hadn’t missed time due to injury and captaining Sweden’s WJC team.

Take a look at some Youtube highlights from a few recent games and imagine what the Caps will look like in two years or so — which, coincidentally, is about the time they’ll win their next game.

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