“So we weren’t going anywhere that year and he had a no-trade contract, and to make it worse he only gave me a few teams,” Poile recently told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Erat’s list was no more than five teams, according to Poile, and the Capitals, who went 5-1-1 before the trade deadline to jump back into the thick of the playoff race, were on it.
“I called those teams and I said: ‘Here’s what I would take,”‘ Poile told Johnston. “And actually, in my own mind, I was prepared to wait until July 1 because then Erat would have one more year left on his contract and I thought that maybe might even get us more. So I just told the ‘X’ number of teams that this is what I wanted and Washington said ‘yes.’”
“They’re never easy decisions. It takes some guts to do deals sometimes,” then-Capitals general manager George McPhee said after the trade. “With respect to giving up young players, you’ve got to be careful doing that, but we’ve drafted well enough that we can do it. And I wanted to help this team now.”
But Erat didn’t help the Capitals, at any point. He scored two goals in 62 regular season games over parts of two seasons in Washington. He was limited to four games and didn’t register a point in the Capitals’ first-round series loss to the Rangers in 2013, which went seven games. Meanwhile, Forsberg has averaged 30 goals in each of the last three seasons and helped the Predators reach this year’s Stanley Cup final, which begins Monday in Pittsburgh.
“It was imperative that we add a potentially dynamic offensive forward such as Forsberg,” Poile said in a statement after the Erat-for-Forsberg swap. “Our goal remains the same — to win the Stanley Cup. We believe our current team is a playoff caliber team. At the same time, we have to be mindful of the long-term and this deal allows us to acquire a top-end young offensive forward that will help us.”
If only the Capitals weren’t on Erat’s list or Washington had said “no,” when Poile came calling …