Capitals: The Effect Of The Varlamov Trade


Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

On July 1st, 2011, the Washington Capitals made a trade that wound up having a huge impact on several franchises. The Capitals dealt a young and promising, but inconsistent, goaltender Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 2012 first round pick (The Capitals took Filip Forsberg with that pick) and the 54th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. The Capitals were basically forced to make the trade because Varlamov was threatening to move to the KHL because the Capitals didn’t want to pay a goaltender who had played just 59 NHL games big money, which is what Varlamov wanted. This trade led to a bunch of other trades that greatly impacted no fewer than four, and arguably as many as six, franchises.

The first trade? The Capitals traded Cody Eakin for Mike Ribeiro.

Mike Ribeiro Trade

The Ribeiro trade is a trade that I’m pretty sure the Capitals would do again. They got an extremely good second line center for Eakin, who is more of a bottom six forward. With that draft pick, the Stars drafted center Mike Winter, who still has yet to play in the NHL.

The next trade that the Varlamov trade caused was arguably the worst trade in recent Capitals history. The Capitals traded Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. That trade looks dumber with each passing day.

Martin Erat Trade

I think this is the trade that wound up getting George McPhee fired. McPhee had to make a move for a top six forward, so he traded Forsberg, who the Capitals were supposedly concerned about due to his speed. What makes this trade worse is that Adam Oates didn’t ever give Erat much of a chance, and that Erat was actually somewhat productive despite a very limited role with the team. Imagine a forward line featuring Marcus JohanssonAndre Burakovsky, and Forsberg.

That wasn’t the only trade involving Erat. The Capitals traded Erat to the Coyotes for Chris BrownRostislav Klesla, and a fourth round pick in 2015.

Martin Erat Trade, Part Two

That trade actually wasn’t too bad. The Capitals managed to get rid of Erat and got a decent forward prospect in Brown, as well as an extra draft pick. Klesla had the briefest of tenures with the Capitals, as he was quickly shipped to Buffalo, along with Michal Neuvirth, for Jaroslav Halak.

Jaroslav Halak Trade

That trade was sort of a wash. Neuvirth had potential, but the Capitals got a better goalie in hopes of making the playoffs in 2013-2014. That backfired on them. The Capitals later traded Halak to the Islanders for a fourth round pick in 2014.

Grading The Trade

Overall, I’d give this trade a C-. Trading Varlamov was not a horrible idea. He wanted more than what the Capitals believed he was worth. Before the Erat trade, the Capitals were looking like the ones who would come out on top in this trade. However, you consider that the Capitals basically traded Varlamov for a shortened season of Ribeiro, less than a full season of Erat, less than a half season of Halak, and a few years of Latta, the trade actually doesn’t seem so bad. Had the Capitals kept Forsberg, they’d probably look brilliant.

The Varlamov trade had a great impact on the Capitals, Predators, Avalanche, Coyotes, Sabres, and Islanders. I’d say the Predators came out on top, as they got the best player involved in those trades: Forsberg.