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Capitals bring on Dustin Penner

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington has acquired forward Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks, adding another potential candidate for the top line of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, in the first of two trades Tuesday for the Capitals.

The Capitals gave up a fourth-round pick in this year's draft for what is essentially a 20-game rental in Penner, who signed a one-year, $2 million contract last year and is set to become a free agent this summer.

The Capitals also sent Martin Erat and John Mitchell to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft.

The Capitals began the day in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They have struggled in particular on defense, an area they could address before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

Penner, 31, has played for the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim over nine NHL seasons. He had 13 goals and 19 assists with the Ducks this season.

The 32-year-old Erat had one goal, 23 assists and 22 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Capitals this season.

Brown and Klesla will report to Hershey of the American Hockey League.

Penner would appear to be a natural fit at left wing on the Capitals' top line. Coach Adam Oates' best options to partner with Ovechkin and Backstrom have been Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich and Erat, but none of the three has looked suited for the role.

"I look forward to coming in," Penner said, "and hopefully adding something they were looking for."

The deal returns to the Ducks the fourth-round pick they sent to Washington in the trade for Mathieu Perreault in September.

A Canadian native, Penner took to Twitter to look for a new, high-profile roommate.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was used in this report.