The Washington Capitals bolstered their depth yesterday by claiming winger Josh Green off waivers from the New York Rangers and acquiring defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski from Ottawa for a conditional draft pick. Green will join the Capitals for practice today -- winger Glen Metropolit was placed on waivers to make room on the 23-man roster -- and Kwiatkowski is expected to meet up with the Capitals when they play in Ottawa on Saturday.
Green, 26, was a first-round pick in 1996, but his development was stalled because of injuries; Washington is his fifth organization. He is an aggressive player and skates well, attributes the Capitals seek for the fourth line. Green, who earns about $800,000 a season, has scored 10 goals or more twice in his NHL career. He caught the eye of pro scout Archie Henderson last season and became available on waivers this week.
"Our scouts see something in him that may help our hockey club," General Manager George McPhee said. "We're trying to build a better fourth line and he's a good-sized kid who skates okay and had 12 goals a couple of years ago."
Kwiatkowski, 25, who earns $425,000 a season, has spent parts of the last three seasons with Ottawa, playing 20 games for the first-place club this season, averaging 11 minutes per game with two points. He is 6 feet 2, 210 pounds and is an extremely mobile player. Henderson watched Kwiatkowski closely during a recent game in Edmonton, and the Senators have an abundance of serviceable defensemen, making him expendable.
If Kwiatkowski plays regularly, the Capitals will owe the Senators a mid-round draft pick. They would not have to part with a pick if he does not crack the starting lineup.
Immigration issues will prevent Kwiatkowski, who played two years in the minors for Coach Bruce Cassidy, from joining the team until the weekend.
McPhee said he wants to carry eight defensemen and not decide which forward to return to the minors until Kwiatkowski arrives.
"He brings us some excellent mobility, so we felt it would be nice to give him a chance and see how he does," McPhee said. "We're not expecting miracles; he's going to be a depth guy for us, but we've got physical guys and . . . he's a little different from what we have and we think he helps."
Army's Contract Extended
The Capitals extended the contract of minor league coach Tim Army, whose Portland Pirates (20-13-4-5) are thriving in his first season as a head coach despite a tough schedule and a host of injuries and call-ups. Army spent the previous five seasons in Washington as an assistant coach and had one year remaining on that existing contract, but is now signed through at least next season, and could be extended beyond that, McPhee said.