Caps Sign Fleischmann, Send Clymer to Hershey

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Washington Capitals signed prospect Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract and sent veteran Ben Clymer to the minor leagues yesterday.

Fleischmann, a 23-year-old right wing, came to training camp without a contract, but now is expected to open the season skating on the first line alongside all-star left wing Alex Ovechkin and center Viktor Kozlov. The deal will pay Fleischmann $495,000 if he spends the entire season in the NHL.

Clymer, meantime, was assigned to Hershey (Pa.) of the American Hockey League after clearing waivers. The gritty, 29-year-old wing played an integral role on the Capitals' shut-down line unit during the 2005-06 season and was rewarded with a three-year, $2.9 million contract that July.

But Clymer suffered an abdominal injury during training camp a year ago and played hurt until March, when he opted for season-ending sports hernia surgery. He finished with seven goals, 13 assists and a plus-minus rating of minus 17 in 66 games.

Demoting Clymer leaves the Capitals with 25 players (not including injured right wing Eric Fehr) in training camp, meaning they must trim two more before today's 3 p.m. deadline for setting the 23-man, opening night roster.

Right wing Jakub Klepis does not have a contract and appears to be a long shot to make the roster; center David Steckel and defensemen Jeff Schultz and Mike Green don't have to clear waivers to be sent to the minor leagues. The team also could make a trade.

Fleischmann declined his qualifying offer this summer and pressed for a contract that ensured him an NHL salary regardless of whether he played in Washington or Hershey. The Capitals refused to give him the one-way deal he sought and instead offered him the opportunity to come to training camp and play for a job, which he accepted.

With one goal and three assists in seven exhibition games, Fleischmann earned a spot, though he still wound up accepting a two-way contract, meaning he'll earn substantially less if he's sent to Hershey.

-- Tarik El-Bashir

© 2007 The Washington Post Company