ST. LOUIS, FEB. 9 -- The Washington Capitals dealt right wing Craig Laughlin to the Los Angeles Kings tonight for defenseman Grant Ledyard.

The change of scene figures to benefit both players; each had seen little action this season.

Laughlin had five goals and five assists in 40 games with Washington. Ledyard, who suffered an ankle injury in training camp and aggravated it during the season, had played in only 23 games for the Kings.

"I had a lot of conversations the last six weeks with Craig Laughlin and obviously he's not playing much for us," said General Manager David Poile. "He wants to play and it was our decision that he would continue to play a less-than-regular role for the Capitals. If he had said he was happy with his role in Washington, I wouldn't have made this trade.

"It's a positional change and I feel our depth down the stretch will be better served at defense than at forward. We have Steve Leach with the {U.S.} Olympic team and he's an excellent candidate for a right wing position in three weeks' time."

Laughlin said: "They decided they'd given up on me at training camp. I knew it was heading this way and I want to play. I love Washington and I didn't want to leave Washington, but I wanted to play.

"I didn't go to David and ask to be traded. Actually, the way the team was going, I thought I'd have a great chance to play. But when I did play, it was always a fourth-line situation and I didn't get much ice time."

Laughlin, 30, joined the Capitals in the Rod Langway deal with Montreal in 1982. He had his best season in 1985-86, when he recorded 30 goals and 45 assists.

Ledyard, 26, has seen limited duty with the New York Rangers and Los Angeles. He is 6 feet 2, 190 pounds.