In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, Mike Ribeiro didn’t know where he’d finish the season. By the morning of April 3, the Washington Capitals were within two points of first place and the veteran center was able to relax. Several hours later, the Caps didn’t just hold on to Ribeiro for the stretch run. Instead, general manager George McPhee gave up a potential piece of the future for immediate help in the form of left wing Martin Erat. Even though injury has limited Erat to seven games in a Caps uniform, his arrival meant everything within a locker room of an Eastern Conference contender. “During the trade deadline there’s a lot of stress,” Ribeiro said. “Once that is over and you see that we’re able to get a top-six player in the lineup, then it just gives comfort to guys, [who are] more comfortable knowing that they believe in us and what we have here. … There’s no questions in your mind anymore.” Erat had just a goal and two assists in his first six games since the trade that sent highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators. The 31-year-old suffered an apparent left leg injury early in his second game with the Caps and missed three more, but he brings more than production. “He can do everything,” defenseman Mike Green said. “He plays great defense, he can create offense, he can shoot the puck, so he’s got it all.” All without the drama of bringing a substantial ego into an already established team. The Pittsburgh Penguins showed they didn’t disrupt chemistry in acquiring Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, but there was never even that concern with Erat. “We were excited to have him; he was excited to be here,” forward Jay Beagle said. “And I think that’s one of the main things that’s important is when a guy’s excited to be here, I think it can only be good for a team. Especially with his work ethic, how can you not like the guy? That’s why I think it didn’t really disrupt anything because we all welcomed him and love what he brings.”