While it might not have been the biggest trade on deadline day, it certainly was the most hyped. After waiting nearly two hours to officially make the announcement (which was veiled in secrecy by both sides), the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals confirmed they had completed a trade at about 5 p.m. ET.
Washington sent first-round draft selection Filip Forsberg to Nashville in exchange for forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta.
Erat had requested that general manager David Poile trade him, because Erat was under the impression the team was going in a younger direction. Expressing a desire to win in the present, the 32-year-old forward feared that his timeline no longer matched that of the Predators.
While Poile stated that he was disappointed with the request, he was pleased with the return of Forsberg who is projected to be a dynamic player at the NHL level. Considering the team hasn't made a first-round draft selection in two consecutive years due to trades, the infusion of a highly-rated prospect is an attractive return.
Washington adds a two-way forward who has displayed he can handle defensive zone starts. The Capitals are attempting to earn a playoff spot and enter competition on Thursday night three points back of the eighth seed.
The concerns about acquiring Erat are lengthy. He will have two years remaining on his contract following this season, which could impact the team's flexibility if they manage to re-sign pending-unrestricted free agent forward Mike Ribeiro. The most obvious issue is whether the team gave up too quickly on Forsberg, who was originally believed to be an untouchable asset in the Capitals system.
Of course, the debate over a prospect becomes convoluted until the player actually plays at the professional level. Weighing future talent against present talent is an argument that could go either way. For every 'can't miss' prospect, there is an example of a prospect who completely failed to live up to expectation.
Forsberg is still playing in Sweden and Poile hopes to talk to him about coming to North America.
Erat is already practicing with the Capitals and is expected to make his debut against the New York Islanders on Thursday night.