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Rat scratch fever: Caps drop Erat from lineup

Jan 9, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

The Martin Erat era in Washington has hit a new low.

The Caps will make Erat a healthy scratch for tonight’s game in Tampa Bay and replace him with Aaron Volpatti, head coach Adam Oates confirmed:

Erat, who has no goals and 15 assists through 39 games this year, probably saw the writing on the wall over the last two games. He played just 9:42 in a loss to Carolina and 7:27 in a loss to Minnesota, going a combined minus-3 over the two contests.

The healthy scratch comes just weeks after Erat re-iterated his desire to be traded out of Washington.

In a related story, Filip Forsberg was named MVP of the recently completed World Junior Hockey Championships.

  1. ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    I’ll suggest the obvious: they’ve worked out a trade and will be absorbing some cap hit…?

    • jpelle82 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      trying to think of who needs a forward that bad and i’m drawing blank.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        well, it’s not generally agreed to by other commenters here for some reason, but I could still see a swap involving Booth.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        agreed on*

      • jpelle82 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        yeah i dont know, penguins got a gem in jokinen after he cleared waivers and carolina retained part of his salary. same could happen for someone willing to risk it on erat, if paired well or injected into the right enviornment he might work out for someone out there willing to take the risk…he still has another year or two on his contract though if im not mistaken?

      • ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        yep. i think the same exact thing about Booth. Erat is making 4.5 this year and next, Booth is making 4.25 this year and next…. in my book, there’s potential there. the Caps gotta give up a BIT more than just Erat, as i think Booth has the slight edge in value based on the 250k difference, the 3 years of age difference, and frankly, the skill…. but I could see a Caps/Canucks trade. but I hate predicting trades. i’m never right… especially when it comes to GMGM.

      • therealjr - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        He only costs $1.875M for the rest of this season and $2.25M for next season in terms of CASH. He’s perfect for a team on a budget. Other than the fact that he now sucks, apparently.

      • barkar942 - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:59 PM


    • stepanup - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      I’m really just having fun with the speculation at this point BUT: What do the Caps need? Goaltending. Who has goaltending and is in a full rebuild with a new GM? Buffalo.

      1) Buffalo will need to reach the cap floor next sason. With a multitude of young players, and more draft picks coming, there really isnt anyone for Buffalo to pay, and they will need to field an NHL roster while letting the young kids develop.
      2) The Caps have a core in place. They’re likely not looking to build through the draft. The Metro is weak this year, and if they’re going to win they have to do it now.

      • t9tookey - Jan 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        I think it would take a lot of younger players to get Miller from Buffalo. It also doesn’t actually solve the goalie issue. Though, I have to say, Miller to the Caps would make Washington a better team in this bad division.

        I still have to wonder if a trade could be made with Edmonton. Edmonton has a bunch of young, talented forwards and they need goaltending. Maybe Edmonton takes a chance on Erat, gets Neuvy/Holtby and a couple draft picks or so for Gagner or Yakupov? Washington could use a proven center behind Backstrom. Or would they take a chance that Yakupov could find his game with Ovie as a mentor?

  2. stepanup - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    That last line was some salt in the wound if I’ve ever read it.

  3. jpelle82 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    rat scratch fever – nice one halford. way to rub it in with the forsberg reference too, that way we didnt have to in the comment section.

  4. ironyisadeadscene - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    and still George McPhee is GM……..Leonsis needs to grow some balls and fire that clown.

    • therealjr - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      That guy should be considered a laughing stock. The smugness, the bravado. “We have arrived”
      “We will win Cups” Yes, that’s plural.

      Great job Ted, I guess as long as you get idiots to fill your seats you don’t really care about looking in the mirror and figuring out what is wrong with this franchise.

  5. dipthatchip - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    I wanted to hold out as long as possible to file the Erat trade as horrendous, but this is the icing on the cake.

    Hope the speculation is correct and he’s out of WSH soon

    • ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      hey, Forsberg hasn’t proven he’s worth anything in the NHL yet…. but at this point, the best the trade could turn out to be is a draw.

  6. t9tookey - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    If it’s any indication, McPhee was in Hershey for a game this past weekend (possibly scouting out what he has to include in a package). It’s not like that happens a lot so something may be up. I think Orlov might be perfectly happy now that he’s in Washington but GMGM still has a goalie situation to work out. I don’t see Grubauer coming back to Hershey unless they just can’t find a trade partner (or they’d have sent him back by now). Maybe they’re trying to package Erat and Neuvy/Holtby (yes, I think Holtby could be available for the right price right now) together in a trade.

  7. dcsportsfan85 - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Who would he include in a package? Most of our prospects that would interest other teams are playing in juniors, NCAA or Europe. We do have a few D prospects with some value. Nate Schmidt, Cam Schilling, Patrick Wey. Also, Garrett Mitchell(RW) and Tomas Kundratek(D) are both out for the year with injuries and Stanislav Galiev (LW/RW) will be out for a little bit longer with an injury.

    Galiev was once the 33rd overall prospect in the NHL according to Hockey Prospectus but a very disappointing season last year has caused him to fall out of favor with a lot of scouts and prospect rating sites. He’s been decent in the AHL this season after being called up from Reading.

    Galiev and Schmidt are probably the two prospects in Hershey who have the most upside and potential trade value.

    So as much as I wish that McPhee was going up there for a trade purpose i doubt that’s the case. As Schmidt would be the only player that he might potentially could scout with value.

  8. dcsportsfan85 - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    I don’t know if trading with Pittsburg is an option, but GM Ray Shero has been rumored to say that they are dangling a D prospect for a scoring line winger to replace Pascal Dupuis next to Crosby. It was rumored that Pittsburgh was using Simon Despres as a trade chip to replace Dupuis, but they have a handful of really good defensive prospects. The only one I see being untouchable is Olli Maatta who’s being mentioned as a Calder nominee.

    A Martin Erat for Simon Despres trade would probably be fair, but given that Erat has demanded another trade request and lack of production gives the Penguins some leverage in this situation. Erat would probably end up thriving with Crosby but then again who doesn’t.

    Maybe this trade could work:

    Washington sends:
    1. Martin Erat
    2. Cam Schilling
    3. 4th Rd Pick acquired from Anaheim in Perreault trade

    Pittsburg sends:
    1. Simon Despres (2009: 1st Rd/30th pick, 6’4″ 225lbs, Shoots: L

    I’d love to get Simon Despres though who’s 6’4″ 225lbs, a lefty, mobile and excellent skater, good puck moving skills and while not known for his physical play he shown he can be at times. Could be a stud if he develops his physical game. Here’s the scouting report on him from Hockey’s Future:

    Talent Analysis

    Despres possesses a blend of size and swift, fluid skating ability that makes him a special defensive player. He is also very unique in the sense that while his overall upside is largely unknown, particularly on the offensive side of the puck, he already has the frame, skating, and mental ability to play at the NHL level.

    “Simon is interesting in the aspect that as a junior player, [he had] the abilities to do everything on the ice,” said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. “As he turns pro, he is juggling where he fits in terms of being able to add offense, jump into the play, take risk if that’s what his offensive game might be, and then be real solid defensively.”

    Though he will likely never be known as a physical defenseman, Despres has demonstrated a willingness to throw around his huge frame, particularly in delivering occasional bone-crunching hip checks.


    Despres will play in the NHL for the 2013-14 season. He projects as a top-four defenseman able to play big minutes in all situations.

    Hockey Prospectus Scouting report from 2012
    The Good: Despres is a very toolsy defenseman who can flash high-end offensive skill and skating ability, which when you combine with the fact he’s 6’4”, makes for a very desirable player. He’s got the offensive tools to dazzle, be it putting the defense on their heels with a fast rush, or being able to dangle and quarterback from the blue line. Despres seemed to improve his playmaking to his teammates this past season. He has a solid physical game.

    And here’s the report on him from “The Hockey News”:

    Assets: Has great size and poise with the puck. Moves the disc with aplomb, is very mobile and efficient overall. Also displays flashes of offensive acumen. Is capable of logging huge minutes if required.
    Flaws: Doesn’t have enough of a mean streak yet to make a physical impact at the highest level. Isn’t a natural power-play quarterback, either. Can get into trouble when he doesn’t trust his instincts.
    Career Potential: All-around defenseman with good upside.

    • hazlydose - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      If the pens trade Despres, they are going to want a lot more than Martin Erat. If Despres is moved, it is in a package for a legit, non-rental, top 6 winger.

  9. trademikegreenforjoeflacco - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    This trade makes me sad every time I think about it. RIP Forsberg. It is unfortunate that I can only root against you now and hope you are a bust.

  10. csilojohnson - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    The way Gibbons has looked on that line. I dont think the Pens need Erat.
    Despres has improved quite a bit this year. Adds some needed size on the blue line. Would hate to see him traded.

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