The Washington Capitals have traded Martin Erat and Bears forward John Mitchell to the Phoenix Coyotes for forward Chris Brown and defenseman Rostislav Klesla. The trade came Tuesday night after a long day of trades in the NHL.
The left winger Erat requested a trade earlier in the season, and now gets his wish as he heads to Phoenix with John Mitchell. Erat was acquired along with Michael Latta late last season for Caps draft pick Filip Forsberg, and Mitchell joined Hershey after Mathieu Perreault was dealt to Anaheim at the beginning of this season. “This is my second time being traded so it’s getting a little bit more comfortable but it’s always a shock,” said Mitchell Tuesday night. “It’s a great group of guys here.
“You take in new opportunities like being excited, but then you have the lull of missing the group of guys here. It’s an emotional roller coaster but overall I’m excited and looking forward to the opportunity in Phoenix.”
Mitchell has only gotten to play in 20 games this season, posting a line of 3-3-6 with 18 penalty minutes. “I know we have a lot of guys here and a lot of good players. When there’s a lot of competition it’s hard to get some playing time sometimes so that’s why trades are made and that this game is a business. As a player you try not to worry about that stuff. You come everyday, work you hardest and get better each and every single day. You let things unfold how they unfold. You never try and really pay attention to that kind of stuff because it’s just detrimental for your game.”
Hershey gains the 36th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Chris Brown. A native of Flower Mound, Texas scored 29 goals for Portland last season in 68 games for the Pirates. In 51 games this season, the 23-year-old has 35 points with 14 goals and 21 assists.
The Bears also will see Rostislav Klesla, a 31-year-old NHL veteran defenseman. Klesla was waved by Phoenix before being sent to Portland, where he has seen 21 games this season. These moves add more depth to the Chocolate and White, who have seen many recalls by parent club Washington deplete their roster more recently.
As Capitals senior writer Mike Vogel pointed out, this trade comes almost full circle with Klesla, as he and current Bears captain Dane Byers were traded to Phoenix for former Bear Sami Lepisto and Scottie Upshall just over three years ago by Columbus.
Hershey will see action again Friday and Saturday nights in Norfolk when they take on the Admirals in back to back games.