Updated, 5:50 p.m.
In a late-day move, the Capitals have traded top prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for veteran winger Martin Erat and a minor league prospect.
Erat, 31, has two years remaining on his current contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million per season and had to waive a no-movement clause in order to join Washington.
Although he has traditionally played right wing, Erat is left handed and should slot into the left wing spot on either of the top two lines. In 35 games for the Predators this season, Erat has recorded four goals and 17 assists. In 10 NHL seasons, Erat’s career high in goals is 23 and points is 58.
The minor league prospect who is coming to the Capitals organization in addition to Erat is American Hockey League center Michael Latta, 21. Latta has nine goals, 26 assists and 184 penalty minutes in 67 games for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals this season.
It’s something of a surprising move, considering how highly regarded Forsberg, 18, is, and how the Capitals have preferred to build their roster through the draft rather than acquiring veteran players through trades in recent years. For all of Forsberg’s potential, though, it’s uncertain when he would have been ready to play in the NHL.
“I wanted to help this team now,” General Manager George McPhee told reporters.
When McPhee met with local reporters last Friday, he said the organization had encouraged Forsberg to play for the AHL’s Hershey Bears following the conclusion of his season in the second-tier Swedish league Allsvenskan.
The plan is for Erat to be in Washington on Thursday morning, but it’s unclear whether he will be on the ice for the morning skate.