The waiver claim to pick up the 38-year-old veteran comes after the Rangers appeared to suffer a serious blow to their blue line in Tuesday night's 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Marc Staal left the game in the third period after he was struck in the eye with a tipped puck at 5:45 of the third period. The 26-year-old blue-liner was in obvious pain after the scary incident, which left him face-down and bleeding on the ice.
The claim of Hamrlik was not a direct result of Staal's injury, however. A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the team discussed putting in a claim on Hamrlik even before the incident occurred.
Staal will be out indefinitely but is expected to make a full recovery, the team announced Wednesday night.
Hamrlik, who was consistently scratched in Washington, had one assist in four games for the Capitals this season.
He is the active leader with 1,383 NHL games played and is in the final season of a two-year, $7 million contract.
Hamrlik played in Washington's first three games this season before being scratched for seven straight games. He returned to the lineup Feb. 7 at Pittsburgh, but then sat out nine more games before being waived.
After being chosen No. 1 overall in the 1992 NHL draft, Hamrlik has 155 goals and 483 assists with Tampa Bay, Edmonton, the Islanders, Calgary, Montreal and Washington. He has one assist this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.