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Report: Caps were ‘souring’ on prospect Forsberg

Apr 4, 2013, 1:51 PM EDT

George McPhee

In the wake of some heavy criticism for Capitals general manager George McPhee following yesterday’s trade that sent prospect Filip Forsberg to Nashville for veteran forward Martin Erat, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has a possible explanation:

I believe the Caps were going to trade Forsberg at some point no matter what, internally souring on the prospect, a player they no longer viewed as a top center in the making.

Scouts I’ve spoken with have mixed opinions. Some still view him as a top center in the making, at least a No. 2, but others are concerned by his foot speed. The latter is what concerned Washington.

Forsberg, 18, was Washington’s first-round pick (11th overall) at the 2012 draft.

Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see how his NHL career turns out. Maybe McPhee is proven right. Maybe not.

Regardless, it’s always going to raise eyebrows when a general manager, especially one that may be on the hot seat, trades away a top prospect for a player that’s in the good-but-not-great (and-getting-kinda-old) category. Is the GM looking out for the team’s best long-term interests? Or, is he looking out for himself?

Washington hosts the Islanders tonight. With a win and a Winnipeg regulation loss in Montreal, the Caps would take over first place in the Southeast Division.

Update (2:14 p.m. ET):

Here’s what agent Allan Walsh had to say about the above:

  1. ravenscaps48 - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    So he was going to be another Marcus Johansson?… I’m liking this deal more and more with each passing minute

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Where’s the love? Hahaha. We have the same thing in a player that we have all expected to be a 60 point producer and a 20 goal scorer, and he won’t even come close to it. Time to start drafting North American players, GMGM

    • gocaps8 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Sorry, this deal sucks for the Caps no matter how you spin it. Even if they had suddenly discovered a lack of speed (ridiculous given the scouting resources), why would you settle for Erat?

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        Tell me how this deal sucks for the Caps? They still have a good development system that is rich with talent and they will just add it in the upcoming draft with a host of picks. I can understand your disappointment as I liked Forsburg as well, but the Caps will be fine.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        idk blackfoot, you can’t just draft a guy with promise like Forsberg every year.

        this is a serious ‘time will tell’ situation in my book

      • gocaps8 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        blackfoot, I believe the Caps did not get market value for Forsberg, and our system is not stocked the way it once was.

        Forsberg and Kuznetsov were the most prized assets in the system and they just gave away Forsberg for a 31-year old wing who is probably a third line player.

        ibieniid is right – forwards with clear top line potential don’t grow on trees.

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        @ibieniid. There have been a number of player with Forsburgs talent that did not pan out as an NHLer. Nobody knows. I dont think the Caps took this trade lightly and if the scouts voted unanimously to make the trade, obviously they know something we dont. You are right that this is a wait and see trade, all trades for top round talent are. I just choose to see both sides of this trade rather than just bash the move.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        this is mcphee trying to save face and not look so stupid. buyers remorse is what it is and now he is trying to justify his move with unprovable hearsay. pretty shady commentary either way, even if it is true then he is basically admitting to selling another gm a lemon.

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        gocaps8. We will never know if the Caps got market value for Erat and Latta until Forsburg plays in the NHL and provides production stats. Secondly, The Caps system may not be stocked the way it once was, but its moderately top heavy with top talent. Kuznetsov, Galiev, Tom Wilson, Caleb Herbet, and Chandler Stevenson are all top six forward talent. Not to mention Dmitry Orlov, Tomas Kundratek, Cam Schilling, Philip Grubauer, Steve Oleksy have all played in the AHL and NHL this year. The system talent pool is pretty good.

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        jpelle. Didnt the Pens get reemed by the NHL media for not drafting Forsburg? Maybe Shero and his scouts knew then what the McPhee and his scouts know now.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        i was one of the guys upset about it. was mad because they “need” a winger for crosby every year but keep drafting d-men. anything’s possible but if shero knew something and mcphee didnt, tells me either the scouts or mcphee didnt do their homework and wasted the pick. even in that logic then they still didnt get good enough value for the 11th overall pick in erat and latta….but time will tell

      • jpelle82 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        in either case, it doesnt look like these were mcphee’s words. it appears to be ESPN of all sources and to top it off he thinks the kid is a center so i question if he even knows who he is talking about. walsh sums up my opinion in his tweet

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        …Or the Caps did their homework on him and they drafted the best available at 11 and not for need. My point is that FOs have different draft philosophies and players with mixed reviews doesn’t fit with one team, another will bet on the upside and make the pick. I see you taking a shot at the Caps FO. Lol

  2. raiderufan - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    That’s an absolutley terrible reason for trading him

    He’s an 18 y/o prospect worthy of being the #11 pick in 2012 and the length of McPhee’s desire to develop this 18 y/o kid extends only 10 months?!?! Did they scout the kid? I don’t think his feet slowed down since he got drafted and why not do something novel like coach and develop the kid?

    I think this is alot closer to McPhee making moves to save his job rather than build a deep consistent team than it is Forsberg being “slow footed”.

  3. tmoore4075 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    He’s 18 and they were starting to write him off?

  4. dohpey28 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    So shouldn’t the scout who recommended him be canned?

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      He said yesterday in his presser that all of the Capitals scouts signed off on the trade

  5. comeonnowguys - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    This is the type of trade that gets a GM fired.

  6. rainyday56 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Don’t need foot speed to stay between the blue lines with your thumb up your hoop in Pred’s system.

  7. rushledger - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I hope this deal blows up in the caps face.

  8. tarotsujimoto74 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Forsberg is a winger, no?

  9. mclovinhockey - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Just saying, even if they didn’t like Forseberg as much as they did when they drafted him, they still could have gotten a much nicer package for him then a 30+ year old

  10. thecrabcakestate - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    I hope this deal comes back to haunt McPhee. I’m a Caps fan saying this. He deserves it after all his preaching about staying the course through the draft

  11. JoeAvg - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    You would think they could’ve gotten more but perhaps all clubs are coming to realize this. Everybody was down on Pittsburgh for not selecting him when they could – this may be the reason they passed.

  12. packerswin96 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    If they determined in less than 1 year after drafting this kid that he won’t make it, where is the scout (s) that pushed for them to draft him? Seems to me that someone did not do the proper homework on him before.

  13. kyzslew77 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Love all the thumbs downs for comments from Caps fans who support the trade. Fans of teams not named the Penguins, Bruins and Canadiens should be very worried, because when the Caps make the playoffs as the 3 seed, they’re going to beat one of you in the first round pretty easily. From there on out, who knows, they probably can’t beat those top three teams, but they’re way closer to being able to than they were two days ago.

  14. hockeyflow33 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Who’s opinion should we rely on here, the GM or random internet commenters?

  15. 2qswing - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    “Typical. A team trades a very good prospect, then whispers to all their friends in the media how they’ve soured on the prospect. No class.”

    100% correct. McPhee feels the heat and leaks this bs to the media. Classless and not the first time. Underachieving overpaid team.

  16. jdvalk - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    His track record, going on 15 years, is what should’ve gotten him out the door by now.

  17. cspsrbums - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    @packers win Foresburg was suppose to go in the top 6 in the draft Caps got him as the 12 th pick only because he was still on the board. The CAPS WHERE GOING FOR Wilson all along Foresburg was a bonus

  18. trick9 - Apr 6, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    It was obvious that Forsberg was never their main target in the last draft. It was either Wilson or someone who went between 12-15. You can easily tell that just by the reaction when they noticed Forsberg was still available in the draft, they started whispering and soon drafted Forsberg.

    I have no problem with this deal, they get 2nd line winger that can play on the either side and score 50 points per season along with Latta who is good prospect aswell and will be ready next season. For return they give player who most likely won’t make big impact in the next 2 years. Then, Caps will have Kuznetsov and Wilson both and they don’t need Forsberg. He would have been a luxury but instead McPhee traded him for present because he won’t be in charge in 2 years if they don’t get far in the playoffs soon.

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