The Washington Capitals are not attempting to corner the market on goaltenders, but are merely recognizing the "difference between quantity and quality," according to General Manager Max McNab. The Capitals added a sixth goaltender when they acquired Wayne Stephenson from Philadelphia for a third-round amateur draft choice.

"If we can improve any position 5 percent, 10 percent or 25 percent, we're interested in that improvement," McNab said at a Capital Centre news conference yesterday welcoming Stephenson to Washington. The statement received loud applause from a group of Fan Club members in attendance.

The Capitals already own Gary Inness, a one-time benchwarmer with Stephenson in Philadelphia; Jim Bedard; Dave Parro; Rollie Boutin, and Bernie Wolfe.

"One of the things we must do to become an acceptable franchise is to get off to a good start," McNab said. "We have not had strong consistency in our nets to start off each season. Now there should be tremendous competition at the goaltending position to help us to get off to a good start."

The Capitals need all the help they can assemble. The early season schedule, because of the horse show, calls for nine of the first 13 games to be played on the road.

Stephenson described the new contract he negotiated with Washington as a two-year extension on his present pact, which had an option year remaining.