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Could 2012 be a Breakout Year for Erat?


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9 years with the Predators, 600+ games, only 402 points, and NEVER a full 82 games under his belt.

There are only two players on the Preds that have been with them that long and only one that fits the bill above.

Throughout his career, Martin Erat has perennially been an underachieving yet extremely skilled player. Erat’s known as the Predators resident sniper and is arguably one of the fastest players on the ice as well. However, every season Nashville loses Erat to at least 2 games a season, usually more than that.

He’s never played a full season in a Predators sweater and only averages 68 games a season with the team.

He’s never scored more than 60 points in ANY season for ANY team in his ENTIRE career

He’s only finished on the plus side of the +/- scale 3 times in his 9 season

For being a sniper, he sure doesn’t have as many goals as he should: In 9 seasons with the Predators, he’s never scored more than 23 goals in a season.

Yet, most, if not all, of the aforementioned issues with Erat all boil down to one thing: Injuries. Nagging and ill-timed injuries have often dropped Erat multiple times in a season, usually when he is beginning to heat up on the stat sheet. I’ve gone back 5 seasons and looked at the injuries Erat has had and how he performed in the 5 games before/after said injury

2010-2011 Season

OUT: November 3rd-November 11th
Previous 5 games – 0g, 3a, 3pt, -1
Next 5 games – 1g, 1a, 2pt, +5

OUT: December 26th-January 13th
Previous 5 games – 2g, 1a, 3pt, -1
Next 5 games – 1g, 2a, 3pt, +2

OUT: April 8th & April 9th
Previous 5 games – 2g, 3a, 5pt, +1
Next 5 games – 1g, 2a, 3pt, -1

2009-2010 Season

OUT: October 29th-November 5th
Previous 5 games – 0g, 0a, 0pt, -8
Next 5 games – 0g, 3a, 3pt, -1

OUT: December 31st-January 7th
Previous 5 games – 3g, 3a, 6pt, -3
Next 5 games – 1g, 0a, 1pt, -1

2008-2009 Season

OUT: November 8th-November 14th
Previous 5 games – 3g, 3a, 6pt, +1
Next 5 games – 0g, 3a, 3pt, +3

OUT: February 28th-March 3rd
Previous 5 games – 0g, 4a, 4pt, -1
Next 5 games – 2g, 1a, 3pt, +3

OUT: March 31st-End Of Season
Previous 5 games – 1g, 6a, 7pt, +4
Next 5 games – ?, ?, ?, ?

2007-2008 Season

OUT: December 22nd & December 23rd
Previous 5 games – 2g, 2a, 4pt, -2
Next 5 games – 0g, 1a, 1pt, -2

OUT: February 9th & February 10th
Previous 5 games – 1g, 2a, 3pt, -1
Next 5 games – 2g, 2a, 4pt, -3

2006-2007 Season

OUT: January 5th & January 6th
Previous 5 games – 0g, 2a, 2pt, -1
Next 5 games – 1g, 4a, 5pt, +4

OUT: March 14th – End of Regular Season
Previous 5 .games – 2g, 2a, 4pt, -4
Next 5 games – ?, ?, ?, ?

Out of the 12 injuries you see listed above, only FOUR times did Erat come back from it and statistically improve from prior to his injury. You can even take this so far as to place Erat’s season ending injuries as one of the reasons the Predators didn’t make the playoffs in the 2008-2009 season (he was lighting up the scoresheet with 7 points in 5 games prior to the season ending injury).

Now, I’m not blaming Erat for the Predator’s missing the playoffs that year, which coincidentally is the ONLY year Nashville has missed the playoffs in the previous 7 seasons. What I’m proposing is that injuries have truly circumvented his career. He’s missed 122 games with Nashville (albeit 45 of those were when he was sent down to Milwaukee in the 2002-2003 season).

In a report yesterday from Josh Cooper at The Tennessean, Erat noted that his nagging back pain from last season is healing up and that he is “Excited for being healthy next season”

Could this be the first year that Nashville sees a 100% healthy Erat throughout the entire season? Logic would dictate that the answer would most likely be no. However, what if Erat stayed healthy every season? Would he be a 60, 70, or even an 80 point scorer? Maybe higher? It’s possible.

Erat is a truly unique player. He’s extremely agile, has near pinpoint accuracy, and he can tear up the scoresheet when he gets hot. However, for all the harsh criticism that Erat has received over the years, he’s never had a full season under his belt with the Predators, leaving many questions to be asked.

Only time will really tell. Hopefully Erat’s 10-year anniversary with the Predators this season will be a career year for him. If not, one would take a guess as to how many more injury-shortened years Erat has left in the tank

O