(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)


Martin Erat waived his no-trade clause to leave the Nashville Predators because he wanted to give himself a better chance to win a Stanley Cup, the newly acquired Capitals winger said Wednesday.

“I’ve been in Nashville for 11 years and it’s hard to leave the city when you’ve been here for so long, but I’m so excited for the opportunity and to play for the Stanley Cup,” Erat said in a conference call with reporters.

In a late trade deadline day move, Washington shipped top prospect Filip Forsberg to Nashville in exchange for Erat, 31, and prospect Michael Latta.

Erat said he asked Nashville General Manager David Poile for a trade because the Predators were “going in a younger direction.”

“I’m getting older, and I don’t have seven, eight years to wait for another chance,” Erat said.

After rallying last night against Carolina, the Capitals sit two points back of the Southeast Division lead with two games in hand on the Winnipeg Jets, and are four points behind the eighth-place New York Islanders. They’re still in the playoff race, and that was part of the appeal for Erat.

An endorsement from former Capital Roman Hamrlik, a good friend from the Czech Republic, also helped convince him to go to D.C., Erat said.

Asked about his hopes for the last 12 games of the regular season, Erat said: “Just make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you’re first or eighth. You start from zero-zero in the playoffs.”

Erat has two years remaining on his current contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million per season. In 35 games for the Predators, he has recorded four goals and 17 assists. He recorded a career-high 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) last season and has eclipsed the 50-point plateau in five of the last six seasons.

While he has typically played right wing, Erat, who is left handed, said he’d be happy wherever the Capitals decide to put him in the lineup.

“I really don’t care if I play right or left, or first or third line,” he said. “I just want to win…”

Erat said he will arrive in Washington in at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.