It’s far too early to start judging a trade that was made just six months ago, but the sight of Nashville Predators rookie Filip Forsberg leaping into the glass at Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night after scoring his first career NHL goal had to sting Caps fans just a little.
Forsberg was taken by the Capitals with the 11th overall pick of the 2012 draft, five selections ahead of Caps rookie Tom Wilson.
At the time, the Caps believed Forsberg would need at least two years of seasoning before establishing himself as an NHL regular.
And when the opportunity to acquire Marty Erat arose at last season’s trade deadline, the Capitals rolled the dice, relinquishing Forsberg to the Predators in exchange for Erat and prospect Michael Latta.
At the time of that trade Brooks Laich had just returned to the Caps’ lineup after two months of groin troubles and the Caps believed they were in need of depth at the forward position.
Erat, who was unhappy with the direction of the Predators, had asked for a trade and had listed Washington as one of his desired locations.
Today, Forsberg is considered one of Nashville’s brightest prospects and could find himself in contention for the Calder Trophy, along with teammate Seth Jones.
“He’s a good kid, a very humble kid,” said Wilson, who became friendly with Forsberg the summer of their draft year. “It’s unfortunate he had to move, but he’s doing well over there and that’s good for him. I’m happy for him.”
Tuesday's game marked Forsberg's season debut with the Predators and he logged 15:38 in ice time.
Erat, meanwhile, finds himself on the Capitals’ fourth line, averaging 7:59 a game. It is by far the least amount of ice time the 32-year-old left wing has had in his 11-year NHL career and well off the 18:55 he averaqed for the Predators last season.
Erat said he has spoken with Capitals coach Adam Oates but is not sure what the future holds for him.
“I know what I can do,” Erat said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he’s considered requesting a trade, Erat replied, “No, not yet.”
With two years and $9 million remaining on his contract, Erat is not exactly trade-friendly and his highest value might not come until this year’s trade deadline.
By then, it is entirely possible Erat will be playing top-six minutes for a team that desperately needs him, making last year’s trade less lopsided than it may appear now.
Prospect watch: While we’re on the topic of Caps’ first-round picks, Andre Burakovsky’s decision to play for the Erie Otters of the OHL seems to be playing off. Taken by the Caps with the 23rd pick of the 2013 draft, the 18-year-old left wing has three goals and five assists in his first four games in Erie.