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“When you lose guys like Suter, it’s very tough,” Ward said. “They still got [goaltender Pekka Rinne] on the back end and [Weber] there. I think they had some injuries where they had a few call-ups, too, which has been unfortunate for him too. It’s all part of the game. It’s unfortunate. It can be frustrating at times.”

Going into Thursday night, the Predators were one point back of the final playoff spot in a crowded Western Conference hunt, and one of Erat’s former teammates didn’t take too kindly to his wanting out.

“We want guys here that want to play and want to be a part of this team, want to win, and that wasn’t the case with Marty,” center Mike Fisher told The Tennessean.

Barring a run that would make the Los Angeles Kings’ improbable 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs look expected, the Predators aren’t a serious contender. So Erat submitted a list of 10 teams he would accept a trade to, and the Caps were on it.

Erat spoke to New York Rangers defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who had good things to say about the organization despite some issues he had during his time with the Caps. When asked if he thought the Caps could win the Cup, Erat said simply: “Yes.”

Erat then cited “everything” as his reason.

“They’ve got the players who can decide the games; they’ve got young, good goaltenders,” Erat said. “They’ve got the defense [that] can compete with anybody in the league.”

In getting Erat, McPhee believes he gave this team a better chance at winning this spring and in the next two years. The price of elite prospect Filip Forsberg was high, and the front office did not trade him without much consideration.

“We have a real good group of pro scouts and amateur scouts and you sift through it and you ruminate over it at night and then you come back in, and you talk about it some more,” McPhee said. “And the vote was unanimous to do it.”

That’s little solace for Poile, who built for the future and wants to think in that direction after trading Erat.

“Marty was good for us, but he didn’t want to be here any longer,” Poile said. “And you have to move on.”

Erat already has done so, and now that his road has led him to Washington, the Caps are hoping to benefit from his presence.

“I know by Marty’s character and by his work ethic, he wants to win every night,” Ward said. “The circumstances there, I guess things weren’t developing as what he thought it would be in the future, per se. I think this gives him a good shot of coming here and helping out and knowing that we have a good opportunity of winning games.”