The 34-year-old Erat has been an effective secondary scorer through most of his 13-year NHL career, particularly in the 11 seasons he spent inside the Nashville Predators organization. But his last year there and his time since leaving the Predators has been plagued by inconsistency and underperforming.
He left Nashville in the 2012-13 season in a famously lopsided trade that sent Erat and Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals, with prospect Filip Forsberg heading to Nashville in return. Forsberg broke out last season, scoring 26 goals and 63 points. Latta, then considered a bit of a throw-in, played 53 games for the Capitals last season.
Meanwhile the Capitals traded the Czech forward the following season in a deal that sent Erat and John Mitchell to the Coyotes for forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a 4th round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Last season Erat scored nine goals and 32 points for the ‘Yotes through 79 games, continuing a narrative of his decline since leaving the Predators organization. In his final full season with Nashville — 2011-12 — he scored 19 goals and 58 points through 71 games. The following season it was five goals and 24 points in 45 games, then three goals and 26 points in 70 games as he struggled to score for Washington or Arizona.
Over the last three seasons, his P/60 has remained fairly steady, bouncing between 1.3 and 1.5, but that’s a big step down from where he was previously, only falling below 2.0 twice previously in his career and then it was a 1.8 and a 1.9.
Hopefully, Erat can find success in the KHL and find that scoring touch that made him an effective depth winger in Nashville.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.