Caps Didn’t Give Martin Erat a Chance

Posted November 25, 2013

Martin Erat (Caps Outsider)

While talking to the media Monday morning after practice, Capitals right winger Martin Erat stated that he has asked the front office for a trade. The 32-year old who came over from Nashville via a trade for Filip Forsberg feels as though he’s never gotten a fair shake. “Since day one,” Erat said “I didn’t get a chance here… it’s time for me to move on.” The Czech was a healthy scratch on Saturday night  during a loss to Toronto on Hockey Night in Canada.

From day one, this trade looked like it had “disaster” written all over it. Forsberg was a top draft pick for the Capitals in the 2012 Entry Draft (11th overall) and it seemed crazy at the time that George McPhee would move a prospect in a prospect pool that was extremely shallow for a player who has a cap hit of $4.5 million. It was understood after the trade occurred that Forsberg had fallen out of favor with Caps scouts and the front office due to his development.

What’s equally troubling here is that if the Caps move Erat (and they should), what kind of return are they looking at? Anything short of a first-round pick would be a terrible return on their original investment but what can McPhee expect now that this player has come out publically and said that he’s unhappy in his current situation and wants out?  Erat has essentially tied McPhee’s hands and will end up settling for a lot less than he should’ve gotten had Erat not made his displeasures public.

If you look at the underlying numbers, Erat hasn’t been the problem. He was paired up recently with Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich, both possession black holes (39.4% and 39.9% Fenwick percentage at 5v5 close, respectively). The Capitals themselves are one of the worst possession teams in the league (45.5% Fenwick percentage at 5v5 close, ranking them 25th in the league). Although he hasn’t scored goals at the rate you would expect a winger making $4.5 million would, at a 49.1% Fenwick percentage at 5v5 close Erat certainly isn’t the problem here. The problem is who he has been paired up with. You can’t expect someone to score when the people he’s playing with can’t possess the puck. He certainly isn’t wrong to say that he hasn’t gotten a fair chance during his time here.

The real issue to take from this is McPhee’s terrible asset management throughout this acquisition. And, as previously stated, he definitely will not get what he should in return when Erat is dealt. It’s time for Erat to “move on,” just like it may be time for McPhee to “move on” as well.