It was a bittersweet Wednesday in Nashville, as one of the most well-known and longest-tenured Predators in Martin Erat was traded to the Washington Capitals in return for elite prospect Filip Forsberg. It's no secret that this trade deadline deal will affect the Preds' playoff aspirations in the short and long term.
The deal was first reported by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN on Twitter.
Such a deal that separates the Predators franchise with its second all-time point-scorer is sure to have a vast effect on the team in 2013 and beyond. But it's the long-term plan that general manager David Poile had in mind when making the deal.
For starters, Forsberg was drafted 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has been highly touted as a potential future star in the league. The Swedish native is just 18 years old.
Forsberg has a stellar offensive game with the ability to attack the goal. Add that to great speed for his 6'1" frame and elusiveness in carrying the puck, and you have yourself a stud who could become one of the league's top scorers.
That type of player has been out of reach for the Predators ever since their inception and has been a glaring issue in the past few seasons.
Head coach Barry Trotz and company have used a scoring-by-committee approach that has helped them to reach the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. But it's become apparent that not having a game-changing forward has hampered the franchise's ability to make a deep run.
If Forsberg can develop into that guy, this will be one of the best trade deadline moves in NHL history.
Even right now, it seems like a great deal for the future in Nashville's case. Erat is 31, and while he's a big contributor to the Preds' offensive output, he isn't getting any better and has two more years left on a $31.5 million contract.
It's hard to say that this deal benefits Nashville in the immediate future, as Erat was tied for the team lead in points (21) and Forsberg likely won't see ice time this season. But according to Preds beat writer Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean, Erat requested a trade due to the team's desire to rebuild with a younger team in the coming seasons.
Preds fans won't easily let go of Erat, who has been as big a part of the franchise as any player since he was drafted in 1999. But they'll rest easy knowing that their team will be much improved in the future.
With a team that has many developing players, adding an elite prospect in Forsberg is a great move and one that will play a part in the Preds' resurgence in 2014 and beyond.
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