The Capitals placed seldom-used defenseman Alex Urbom on waivers Tuesday, in a move to alleviate what Coach Adam Oates dubbed “roster issues”.

There are “people we want to see come up and it’s a situation where he hasn’t played in a long time and we’ve got to make a move,” Oates said. “He gets put on waivers.”

Urbom, 23, appeared in 20 games for the Capitals after they claimed him off waivers from the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 3. The left-handed Swedish blueliner didn’t play well enough to keep a regular spot on the roster, though, when Dmitry Orlov played well after being recalled on Nov. 30 and John Erskine returned from a lingering knee injury.  Urbom sat out 16 consecutive games prior to Washington placing him on waivers.

“His game was good early and then just a few mistakes here and there and all of a sudden you get bypassed. Ersk comes back, you get bypassed. Orly comes up and plays good,” Oates said. “That’s the nature of the game and it’s very difficult, it creates difficult decisions and he was the odd man out all of a sudden and we had to make decisions accordingly.”

Waiving Urbom opens up a spot on Washington’s active roster and gives the team a little bit more wiggle room — $808,633 under the salary cap according to – under the salary cap.

It’s uncertain, though, whether Capitals will use that spot to recall a defenseman, perhaps left-handed Nate Schmidt who appeared in 28 games before he was returned to the AHL when Erskine came off injured reserve, make space for gritty forward Michael Latta, who is eligible to return from the long-term injured list on Friday, or some other move.

Urbom recorded one goal and one assist in 20 games, averaging 14:36 of ice time per contest.