WASHINGTON -- The New York Islanders, locked in a tight race
to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, added some offense Monday
when they acquired winger Richard Zednik from the Washington
Capitals for a second-round draft pick in 2007.
Zednik has six goals and 12 assists for the Capitals this
season. He has also missed 31 games with wrist and groin injuries.
"Richard is a proven offensive talent," New York general
manager Garth Snow said. "When you can add a player with his skill
and competitiveness for a playoff push at a fair cost, you do it.
We believe Richard will fit in well with our team."
The Islanders entered Monday tied with Montreal for the eighth
and final playoff spot in the East, although both teams were only
six points behind third-place Ottawa.
The acquisition of Zednik could give the Islanders leeway to
move forward Jason Blake, who has been the subject of trade rumors.
The NHL's trade deadline is Tuesday.
Zednik, 31, spent parts of six seasons with the Capitals before
he was dealt to Montreal in 2001. He scored 20 goals three times
for the Canadiens, including a career-high 31 in 2002-03. The
Capitals reacquired him from Montreal for a third-round pick last
Zednik is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Capitals attempted to sign him to a contract extension, but
general manager George McPhee said the two sides were "not very
close" to a deal.
"We discussed it for the last couple of months, and it just
didn't work out," McPhee said.
The move could be the first of several before Tuesday's deadline
for the Capitals, who have fallen out of playoff contention after a
competitive start to the season. McPhee said he first realized he
would be a seller rather than a buyer when the team had several
injuries during the most compact part of the schedule from
Christmas through New Year's Day.
"We lost all five games, and we never recovered," McPhee said.
"It's really too bad. The team was having a nice season. We didn't
have the depth to survive that."
With the trade, the Capitals have three picks in the first two
rounds of this year's draft.
Also on Monday, the Capitals sent defenseman Lawrence Nycholat
to Ottawa for defenseman Andy Hedlund and a sixth-round draft pick.
Nycholat, 27, has played in 18 games this season, with two goals
and six assists. Hedlund, 28, has spent the season with the
Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League.