Capitals, Martin Erat finally part ways

Capitals, Martin Erat finally part ways
March 4, 2014, 9:15 pm
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So much for George McPhee allowing the NHL trade deadline to pass without making some noise.

Hours after acquiring Dustin Penner from the Anaheim  Ducks for a fourth-round pick the Caps’ general manager had to part with significant salary and he did just that by sending Marty Erat and minor-leaguer John Mitchell to the Phoenix Coyotes for defenseman Rostislav Klesla, forward Chris Brown and a fourth-round draft pick in the 2015 draft.

It could make for an interesting night on Saturday at Verizon Center when Erat joins former Capitals Mike Ribeiro and Jeff Halpern when the Coyotes visit the Capitals.

Klesla and Brown were sent to the Hershey Bears, which qualifies the Erat trade as a virtual salary dump necessitated by the acquisition of Penner. Erat, 32, has another year and $4.5 million remaining on his contract. Penner is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2 million contract.

Klesla, 31, collected one goal and three assists and 24 penalty minutes with the Coyotes this season. He is a 14-year NHL veteran who has played for Columbus and Phoenix. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds he provides the Caps with much-needed depth and experience on the blue line. Klesla has appeared in 659 NHL games, recording 48 goals, and 111 assists and 620 penalty minutes. Brown, 23, played in six games with the Coyotes this season, collecting 17 penalty minutes. In addition, he recorded 14 goals and 21 assists and 68 penalty minutes in 51 games with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

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 won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, registering two goals and 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.

[RELATED: Capitals acquire Penner from Anaheim]

Erat, 32, had one empty net goal and 23 assists and 22 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Capitals this season. Mitchell, 27, recorded three goals and three assists in 20 games with the Bears this season.