The Washington Capitals, stymied in the trade markets and doubtful about their ability to obtain immediate help from next week's entry draft, are close to singing a European winger.
The subject of Washington's interest is believed to be Roland Stoltz, a 6-foot-1, 192-pounder who finished fourth in Swedish league scoring last season while playing for first-place Skelleftea AIK.
"You can speculate that we're going to sign a European, and one that can play both the left and right side," said Washington General Manager Max McNab. "But until the last I is dotted and T crossed, we're not going to mention any names."
Stoltz, who recorded 18 goals and 19 assists in the 36-game season, fits the requirements. Presumably, he would move onto a line with Tim Tookey and Bengt Gustafsson to provide a needed injection of offense.
Stoltz played for the Swedish national team for the first time this year. He was a regular, along with Gustafsson, on the club that placed second to the Soviet Union in the world championships and, although not a standout, he scored a key goal in the 4-2 victory over the United States.
Arne Stromberg, the Capitals' European scout and former coach of the Swedish team, was in Washington last week and presumably returned to Sweden with the appropriate papers.