The Washington Capitals traded dissident defenseman Gord Lane to the New York Islanders last night for Mike Kaszycki, a 23-year-old center.

Kaszycki was a regular with the Islanders as they attained top honors during the NHL regular seson in 1978-79. He collected 16 goals and 18 assists while playing between Billy Harris and John Tonelli.

Infrequently used this season as the Islanders have struggled only slightly above the celler-dwelling Capitals, Kaszycki managed only one goal and four assists.

Drafted in the second round in 1976, Kaszycki was a junior teammate of Capital Tim Coulis at Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey Association.Kaszycki set an OHA record, since eclipsed, of 170 points in 1976.

Kaszycki fills a key gap in the Capitals' offense. Injuries to Dennis Maruk, Guy Charron and Rolf Edberg have left Ryan Walter, a second-year man, as the only center with pro experience at the position.

Edberg, idle since Nov. 13 with strained ligaments in his right knee, is expected to return Wednesday. Charron, troubled by repeated aggravations of a pulled thigh muscle, took the weekend off after an unsuccessful practice Thursday and is out indefinitely. Maruk, on crutches following a knee operation, is not expected to return this season.

Lane informed the Capitals last week that he was "retiring," because he was unhappy spending so much time on the bench. At the same time, he answered, "Yes, definitely," when asked whether he would like to continue playing hockey somewhere else.

Lane, 26, first played for the Capitals in 1976 and was valued chiefly as a policeman. He led the team in penalties during each of the last three seasons and his career total of 614 minutes placed him second to Yvon Labre's 656 on the Capital's all-time list.