After a couple hours of waiting on pins and needles for an announcement, the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals completed a trade before clock struck 2:00pm CT. Martin Erat and Michael Latta have been traded to the Capitals in exchange for Filip Forsberg. “It felt good today," said Nashville general manager David Poile, "and I know it will feel good in the future.”
"I didn't like it. But I dealt with it. And now we have a tremendous prospect."
Filip Forsberg was a top prospect entering the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but dropped to 11th overall, where the Capitals selected him. No, he is not related to former-Predator Peter Forsberg, but has the potential to be as good as he was.
This season, Forsberg played for Leksands in his home country, Sweden, where he posted 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 43 games. The 18 year old played for Sweden in the 2013 World Junior Championships where he played in six games and totaled five points (3 goals, 2 assists).
Scouts say when playing against men in Sweden, he became a two-way player, rather than a scorer. “He’s a goal scorer,” said a scout to The Hockey News. “A game creator with his speed and his ability to put the puck in the net.”
Forsberg is a high end prospect and general manager David Poile got quite a player coming up in the next couple years, if not next season.
In gaining such an outstanding young forward with scoring capabilities, someone had to go and that player was long-time Pred Martin Erat. The Czech Republic native was drafted by the team in the 7th round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and started playing in Nashville during the 2001-02 season.
“Marty came to us in recent days and indicated a trade might be in his best interests,” said Poile in the Predators’ Press Release. In his current contract with two years remaining, there is a no movement clause that he was willing to waive. “Marty gave me certain teams he would be traded to,” said Poile. The Capitals were on that list, but Poile didn't want to reveal who else was on it.
“When someone says they don’t want to be with your team, it’s time to let him go. It’s disappointing when these things happen because it is a reflection on our organization.”
This year, Erat’s production has slumped compared to last year, but that is because of his age. At 31, he is over his prime and his career is starting to turn down. Erat was still a number one winger with the Predators however, producing as of late.
In 36 games, he has four goals, 17 assists.
Another player the Predators had to give up was Michael Latta, who has spent most of his professional career in the team’s AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals. Latta appears to be NHL-ready, but has yet to be provided that opportunity every young player has yearned for.
Latta played 67 games this season in Milwaukee and totaled 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists).
It is tough for the Predators to lose Martin Erat and a player who is a leader in the locker room, but it is time to move on. There has been little success as of late, and is the first step in “retooling”.
Here is the full press release from the Predators’ organization.
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired forward Filip Forsberg from the Washington Capitals in exchange for forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg has already been signed to a three-year entry level contract and is eligible to play in North America immediately.
“With one of the best goaltenders in the world in Pekka Rinne, and the top defenseman in the game today in Shea Weber, along with Roman Josi, Kevin Klein and other young defensemen we continue to develop, we believe we are well positioned at these two positions, but have lacked a dynamic offensive forward.” Poile said. “In Filip Forsberg, we are adding one of the top rated young forwards in the world; we are excited to have him join our other emerging young talent and solid veterans at the position.”
“We have used draft picks in recent years to add players at the trade deadline. Over the last several years, we traded away four first round picks. It was imperative that we add a potentially dynamic offensive forward such as Forsberg. Our goal remains the same—to win the Stanley Cup. We believe our current team is a playoff caliber team. At the same time, we have to be mindful of the long-term and this deal allows us to acquire a top-end young offensive forward that will help us.”
Forsberg, 18 (8/14/94), posted 33 points (15g-18a) in 38 games for Leksand of Sweden’s second league in 2012-13, pacing all junior skaters and finishing second in points to only Predators 2012 second-round pick Pontus Aberg. The 6-1, 188-pound center was the recipient of the 2013 Golden Cage Award as the league’s top junior player.
Washington’s first pick, 11th overall, in the 2012 Entry Draft was recently rated the 21st rated NHL-affiliate prospect by The Hockey News. The Östervåla, Sweden native helped Sweden win gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships, then captained the Tre Kronor to a silver medal at the 2013 World Juniors, being named the tournament’s All-Star Team in the process.
Erat departs Nashville ranked second all-time on Nashville’s games played (723), goals (163), assists (318) and points (481) lists. Having helped the Predators advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs seven of the last eight seasons, the Trebic, Czech Republic native is also tied for the franchise lead in playoff assists (15), and ranks second in postseason games played (46) and points (23).
“It is always difficult to trade a player who was drafted, developed and who has produced for the franchise for many years such as Martin Erat, however, Marty came to us in recent days and indicated a trade might be in his best interests. Thus, the process began and we were able to explore options with our primary goal being to acquire a young top end forward that would address our most critical need. We thank Martin for all his contributions to the Predators’ success over the years and wish him and his family the best in Washington.”