The Washington Capitals cleaned their training-camp house yesterday, shipping nine players to Binghamton of the American Hockey League and 11 to Fort Wayne of the International Hockey League.

There were few surprises, other than destination, since the Capitals have been operating camp on a two-tier basis and most of the players knew they were destined for farm clubs.

Defensemen Grant Jennings and Bill Houlder were the only players sent out yesterday who had been skating with the big team. Jennings was assigned to Binghamton, Houlder to Fort Wayne.

Jennings had played in Binghamton the last two seasons, but each time he was beset by knee injuries that forced him to miss a third of the schedule.

"Grant Jennings made tremendous strides in camp, but he needs to play," said Coach Bryan Murray.

Houlder, a fourth-round draft pick in 1985, enjoyed an excellent camp and Murray said: "He's a very promising player. In the past we might have been tempted to keep him here, but at the start it's best if he plays a lot."

Although Houlder no doubt is capable of playing in Binghamton, Fort Wayne Coach Robbie Laird requested his services and indicated Houlder would be used in every possible situation.

"I can't look at it as a downer," Houlder said. "It would be like missing a step, to go right from junior to the NHL. As for Binghamton, in the past it {the AHL} was considered a better league and a step up from the IHL. Now they're almost equal. I should get a lot of ice time and a lot of experience in Fort Wayne."

General Manager David Poile explained: "We've tried to treat Binghamton and Fort Wayne as equal situations, looking to where a player had the best chance to play. Binghamton has a veteran defense and Bill Houlder will get more ice time in Fort Wayne."

Besides Jennings, defenseman Yves Beaudoin was returned to Binghamton. Additionally, while defensemen Paul Cavallini and Tony Kellin remained with the Capitals and will be part of the 24-man contingent in Lake Placid, N.Y., this week, they were told that they most likely would go back to Binghamton for another season.

"We need eight defensemen for practice at Lake Placid," Murray said. "If one of them should stick out there, maybe we'll keep him and start the season with seven."

Assigned to Binghamton along with Jennings and Beaudoin were forwards Jeff Greenlaw, Yvon Corriveau, John Druce, Jim Thomson and Scott McCrory. Goaltender Cleon Daskalakis and winger Mike Richard, neither of whom is under contract, went to Binghamton on a tryout basis.

Shipped to Fort Wayne along with Houlder were goaltenders Alain Raymond and Michel Dufour, defensemen Larry Shaw and Martin Burgers and forwards Claude Dumas, Rob Murray, Steve Hollett, Robin Bawa, Mike Maurice and Derek Ray. Dufour, Burgers and Ray are unsigned.

Winger Jim Egerton was assigned to Flint of the IHL. Winger Frank DiMuzio returned to his Ottawa junior team as an overage player. Defenseman Gary St. Pierre, who is scheduled for surgery on his broken nose today, and center Tim Bergland remain in Washington pending future assignment. Defenseman Kevin MacDonald will attend St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Defenseman Steve Cousins went home to Edmonton to become an accountant.