The Washington Capitals traded right wing Keith Jones and two draft picks to the Colorado Avalanche tonight for defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn and the rights to left wing Chris Simon. Simon, a restricted free agent, is unsigned and has been holding out.

Simon, a 6-foot-3, 219-pound forward, is known more for fistwork than stickwork. Last season, the 24-year-old recorded 16 goals, 18 assists and 250 penalty minutes in 64 games. He was Philadelphia's second pick (25th overall) in the 1990 draft and traded to the then-Quebec Nordiques in the multiplayer deal for Eric Lindros.

Leschyshyn, 27, is a 6-1, 205-pound defenseman. He recorded four goals and 15 assists in 77 games last season, with 73 penalty minutes.

Jones, who scored 18 goals and had 23 assists in 68 games last season, had reached the Nassau Coliseum for the Capitals' game tonight with the New York Islanders before heading out for a flight to Denver, where the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche played the Buffalo Sabres.

Leschyshyn is likely to join the Capitals in the next few days. General Manager David Poile said he has spoken to Simon's agent, Larry Kelly, several times and hopes to get Simon signed as soon as possible, although he said he wouldn't expect a deal extremely soon, "based on the conversations we've had so far."

"Simon is one of the toughest -- if not the toughest -- players in the NHL. He's a proven player who is getting better and has shown some offensive ability," Poile said.

"With Leschyshyn, well, you can never have enough defensemen. With Sylvain Cote being out {until mid-December with a knee injury} and {minor leaguer} Nolan Baumgartner now having surgery {for a dislocated shoulder} and out four to six months, we felt some of our depth was gone."

Poile said that once Simon is signed he probably will play on one of the Capitals' two top lines, opening more room for finesse players such as right wing Peter Bondra or center Joe Juneau. Simon has been on the trading block for more than a month, but Poile said these trade talks only became serious in the past 48 hours.

"I think we were already a physical team but this is a different element we don't have," he said. "If it helps discourage someone from attacking a Peter Bondra, then that's fine."

Poile said Simon and Leschyshyn are "definitely going to be Capitals for a while," although he pointed out he now has eight high-quality defensemen. Coach Jim Schoenfeld has had six defensemen in uniform a game.