LAKE PLACID, N.Y., OCT. 2 -- Defenseman Kevin Hatcher has been given clearance to skate and, barring unexpected complications, will be able to play in the Washington Capitals' season opener Thursday in Boston.

The swelling on Hatcher's sore left knee subsided sufficiently today for him to be examined in Washington by Dr. Stephen Haas. The knee was found to have a full range of motion.

Hatcher twisted the knee in practice Sept. 22 and has been forced to rest it ever since because of the swelling. Despite the long layoff, he is expected to regain playing condition quickly because of his earlier participation in the Canada Cup, where he did a good job defensively for the United States team.

Barrett on Draft List

Defenseman John Barrett, currently recuperating from a fractured kneecap, is the only member of the Capitals left unprotected in Monday's waiver draft. All other NHL teams had to make at least three players available, with Toronto topping the list with 16.

Among the better players eligible to be claimed are winger Charlie Simmer of Boston, center Doug Jarvis of Hartford, winger Moe Lemay of Edmonton, defenseman Randy Boyd of the New York Islanders, injured defenseman Barry Beck and winger Willi Plett of the New York Rangers, center Ron Flockhart of St. Louis and winger Brad Smith of Toronto.

"Some names on the list lead me to believe that players will be taken Monday," Poile said. "I'm studying it to see if there might be someone who could help us."

Players with more than two years of pro experience and goaltenders with more than three are eligible for the draft. Each team may protect two goalies and 17 others. No team may select a player from another club in its division. Except for the five nonplayoff teams in the first two rounds only, a club making a selection must drop a player from its protected list.

Exhibition Finale

The Capitals will close their abbreviated seven-game exhibition schedule with a game against the Hartford Whalers Saturday night in Hartford. Pete Peeters will be in goal for Washington.