Martin Erat, an Olympic bronze medalist and one of the greatest hockey players in Nashville Predators history, has officially retired. The Czech forward was also part of the most controversial trade in Washington Capitals history, which many fans regard as the franchise’s worst.
After spending one season in the KHL and his last four in the Czech Extraliga playing for HC Kometa Brno, Erat, at age 38, has opted to spend more time with his family.
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Juniorský mistr světa, dvojnásobný medailista z MS, držitel bronzové 🥉 olympijské medaile a naposledy kapitán týmu na ZOH 2018 Martin Erat oznámil, že končí s kariérou! 👋🏻 Martine, díky a užij si zasloužený odpočinek 👏 #narodnitym #jakolev
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“My health is paramount,” Erat said in an interview with iSport. “I don’t want to end up in a wheelchair instead of playing with the kids.
Over the last two seasons, Erat admitted he has played through difficult back pain that only surgery would fix. “I’ve suffered a lot,” he said, adding that he did not want to end up in a wheelchair.
Erat’s retirement comes after he was transferred to the retirement list last season, but ended up choosing to play a part of one more season. Erat suited up only 16 games for Brno, where he won two championships in four seasons.
— EP Transfers (@ep_transfers) May 30, 2019
During his 723-game career with the Predators, Erat scored 163 goals (fourth-most in franchise history) and tallied 318 assists (second-most) for 481 points (second-most). Erat did this despite being a seventh-round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft.
But Erat’s time with the Capitals was highly controversial. In what is described as one of the worst trades in NHL history, GM George McPhee sent up-and-coming prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for a 31-year-old Erat and Michael Latta on April 3, 2013.
Erat was consistently a 40-50-point scorer with the Preds. In his short tenure with the Capitals, where he was supposed to put the team over the top in the playoffs, he only had 27 points in 66 games. The Capitals lost to the New York Rangers in seven games during Erat’s only playoff series with the team, where he played in four games.
After being scratched for several games during the 2013-14 season, Erat requested a trade and the Capitals flipped him to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Alex Ovechkin posted a photo from Erat’s final dinner with the team.
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That 2013-14 season was so difficult for Erat in Washington that Alex Ovechkin picked up his goal puck, like it was a milestone goal, after the Czech scored for the first time that year in February.
Since then, the Predators have poked fun at the Capitals for the trade as less than four years after the trade was made, Forsberg had already scored as many goals against Washington as Martin Erat and Michael Latta scored combined in their Caps’ careers.
While playing in the Czech Republic the past four seasons, Erat has been almost a point per game player. He will retire after a 19-year professional career.
Have fun with your family in retirement, Marty!
Headline photo courtesy of @aleksandrovechkinofficial
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