It’s been nearly a month since he went public with his trade request, but Martin Erat remains a Washington Capital. And now that the NHL’s holiday roster freeze is in effect, the veteran winger is guaranteed to stay through 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 28 at least.
Nothing has changed for Erat over these past few weeks. He still wants to be traded but knows there’s little he can do but wait and try to make the best of an odd situation until a deal is struck.
“It’s only [seven] days. Right now I’m just focusing on the next few games. That’s all I can do,” Erat said. “I’m a professional. I have to play hockey and that’s the bottom line.”
Since he let the league know he is looking to leave Washington on Nov. 25, Erat was a healthy scratch twice but has played in the past nine games, recording four assists and seeing anywhere from 10 minutes to over 19 of ice time. He’s suited up most often at third-line center during this stretch with Brooks Laich sidelined by a groin injury.
Laich’s injury likely made the Capitals more hesitant to part ways with the disgruntled winger, so that they wouldn’t find themselves suddenly lacking in forward depth. But Laich has skated five consecutive days now and appears to be on track to return on Dec. 23, when he is first eligible to come off the long-term injured reserve list, or soon after.
If Laich does make it back in the lineup soon and can stay healthy for an extended period of time, it may bring about the long-awaited change for Erat.