The Washington Capitals have signed forward David Jensen, their final holdout, to a one-year contract, Capitals General Manager David Poile announced yesterday.

"I didn't want to go with any other team," Jensen said yesterday from his Massachusetts home. "If I could have it my way, I would stay as long as I possibly could, for the rest of my career. They've treated me real well."

Jensen, who turns 22 next week, and Poile both said they preferred a one-year deal. "What he can do is still up in the air," Poile said. "He has not reached his potential yet, and because of it, neither of us were prepared to make a longer agreement at this point."

Both Poile and Jensen's agent, Mark Perrone, said the negotiations went smoothly, despite the length of time. Jensen, a free agent since July 1, said, "I never had any doubts I would be back."

Jensen played in 46 games with eight goals and eight assists in 1986-87, his third season as a pro. He also played six games with the Capitals' minor league team in Binghamton. He again enters crowded fields at both center and left wing this year, especially if the Capitals reach an agreement with the Swedish Hockey Federation to obtain Peter Sundstrom. However, Jensen remains optimistic.

"You can't think negatively," he said. "I'm just happy to be back. I got my feet wet last year and I'm starting to feel comfortable in the NHL. I just want to progress."

Jensen was the Hartford Whalers' first round pick in the 1983 draft, but chose to first play for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. He joined the Whalers for the 1984-85 season and was traded to Washington in March 1985. He suffered a knee injury that required surgery shortly thereafter, and was sidelined until the following season.

"It takes time to get your knee back and confidence," he said, "but I think I've improved through the years."