Thirty years from now, Glen Metropolit hopes he's not telling his grandkids about the time he played alongside guys such as Adam Oates and Peter Bondra at the Washington Capitals' training camp. He'd much rather tell them about the time a relatively unknown minor leaguer cracked the Capitals roster and established himself as an NHL player.

Metropolit, 25, was never drafted for all the usual reasons -- too short, too small. After two terrific seasons in the minors and two summers spent adding weight and strength with a personal trainer, Metropolit is a strong candidate for one of the team's final forward spots.

He's been a constant offensive presence on a line with Jan Bulis and Steve Konowalchuk, taking Richard Zednik's spot while the free agent remains unsigned.

"It's a dream come true to be here," Metropolit said. "I had a really good summer working out with a personal trainer, and went to Finland for two weeks to train over there and get better.

"When the preseason games come, that's great. I'll be ready.

"Teams have said I'm too small and I started out in the East Coast Hockey League and I was basically looked down upon for that.

"I just kept working hard and gained weight and now they can't say I'm too small -- I may be small in height but you can't measure heart."

Ottawa invited Metropolit to camp last year, but let him go without offering a contract. After another strong season in the International Hockey League (he finished in the top 10 in scoring) at least five teams were bidding for his services this summer as a free agent.

The Capitals stepped up with a $100,000 signing bonus as part of a two-year deal with a guaranteed salary of $125,000 in the minors and about $375,000 in the NHL.

"We liked him a lot," said an official from one of the teams in the bidding. "We saw him as a great depth guy and the Capitals spent some big money to get him.

"He's got a good shot to play up there, but it depends on his skating and size and you don't know how it will work out until you see him playing against NHL competition. But he's got a great head and a nose for the net.

"He could be a player."

Thus far, the Capitals have liked what they've seen, and it's likely Metropolit will play in all seven preseason games as they continue to evaluate the center/winger.

Tickets on Sale

Individual game tickets for the first half of the season will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at the MCI Center box office. Tickets can also be purchased at all TicketMaster locations or by calling TicketMaster. . . .

General Manager George McPhee said he believes Zednik's immigration problems are cleared up and he should be flying in from Europe today. . . .

A team including Wilson, assistant coach Tim Army and co-owner Jon Ledecky won the Capitals' annual charity golf tournament. The event helped raise more than $20,000 for Children's NIH. . . .

Krys Barch, a third-round pick in 1998, made a strong training camp debut after missing the first week of camp with a throat infection.