The Washington Capitals have begun the process of trimming the dead weight from the roster by placing veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik on waivers. Hamrlik, 38, has played in just four contests for the Caps this season and was leapfrogged by yet another younger player this week for playing time, as the Caps signed and recalled Steven Oleksy from AHL Hershey. Oleksy will make his NHL debut, at 27, against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
Hamrlik signed a two-year, $7 million deal in July 2011. Should another team claim him on waivers, the Caps would be alleviated of the rest of his contract against their salary cap. If he is not claimed, the Caps could try to send him to Hershey, release him or just let him sit in limbo.
Hamrlik was the first player chosen in the 1992 NHL draft and was the NHL’s leader among all active players in career games played with 1,383.
Head coach Adam Oates indicated Oleksy was called up because he was a right-handed shot. Oates strongly believes in pairing right and left-handed shots on the blue line. Oates explained, “As I’ve said all along, I really believe in balance. And having three righties included in that piece is very important to me. Boston is a team that comes down the walls, and they don’t give you many second chances so you need that first play to be a good one.”
“Having [Oleksy] in Hershey, he knows the system and he helps us with the boards.”
Oleksy is expected to add some toughness to the Caps rearguards. He has accumulated 151 penalty minutes in 55 games this season for AHL Hershey, including 11 fights.