Months after word leaked out that he had requested a trade, left wing martin Erat finally got his wish. Washington sent Erat and minor league forward John Mitchell to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for center Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round choice in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Brown is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound native of Flower Mound, Tex. He was a second-round choice (36th overall) for Phoenix in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Brown spent two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program and then three seasons at the U. of Michigan before turning pro with Portland of the AHL in 2012-13. Brown totaled 29 goals, 47 points and 98 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Pirates last season.
Brown also dipped a toe in the NHL waters last season, going pointless in five games with the Coyotes. He has totaled 14 goals and 35 points in 51 games with Portland this season and is without a point in six NHL contests with Phoenix this season.
Klesla is a 31-year-old left-handed defenseman who fell out of favor in Phoenix this season. He was twice waived and sent to Portland, where he has totaled three goals and nine points in 21 games, the entirety of the AHL action he has seen in his career.
Once a first-round (fourth overall) choice of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Klesla was the first player ever chosen by the Jackets in their first ever NHL Entry Draft. The Jackets traded Klesla and Dane Byers – now the captain of Washington’s AHL affiliate in Hershey – to Phoenix for Scottie Upshall and ex-Caps defenseman Sami Lepisto on Feb. 28, 2011.
In 659 career NHL games, Klesla has totaled 48 goals and 111 assists for 159 points in 659 NHL games. He had a goal and four points in 25 games with the Coyotes this season.
Klesla carries a salary cap hit of $2.975 for this season. He becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Brown has one year remaining on an entry level contract that carries an annual cap hit of $853,333.
Both Klesla and Brown will report to the AHL Hershey Bears.
Erat came to Washington on April 3 of last year along with center Michael Latta in a deal that sent prospect forward Filip Forsberg – a Caps first-rounder (11th overall) in the 2012 draft – to the Nashville Predators. But Erat was injured soon after arriving, and he got hurt again in the playoffs last spring.
Coming into camp, it was unclear how or where he would fit into the Washington lineup. Caps coach Adam Oates elected to deploy the veteran winger on the forward on the fourth line at season’s outset, and Erat went to Caps’ general manager George McPhee to request a trade soon after. Weeks later, Erat made his demand public knowledge.
A consistent 50-point producer during his decade with the Predators, Erat was snake-bitten offensively during his time in the District. He managed a meager two goals in 62 games with Washington, adding 25 assists for 27 points.
Mitchell came to Washington last September as part of the swap that sent center Mathieu Perreault to Anaheim. He has totaled three goals and six points in 20 games for the AHL Hershey Bears thus far this season.