Washington started off what could be a busy 24 hours when it sent veteran right wing Richard Zednik to the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon. In exchange, the Caps will receive the Islanders’ second-round choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Washington originally chose Zednik in the 10th round (249th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, and the Slovakian winger remains the lowest drafted Capital ever to make it to the NHL. He made his NHL debut with Washington in the final game of the 1995-96 season.
After parts of six seasons with the Capitals, Zednik was dealt to Montreal along with Jan Bulis in the deal that brought forward Dainius Zubrus to the Capitals on Mar. 13, 2001. Zednik blossomed with the Canadiens, reaching the 20-goal plateau three times and netting a career-high 31 goals in 2002-03.
Washington reacquired the 31-year-old winger last July, sending a third-round choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft to the Canadiens in return. Plagued by some nagging injuries this season, Zednik appeared in just 32 of Washington’s 63 games in his second go-round with the team. He totaled six goals and 18 points, picking up an assist against New Jersey on Sunday in his final game with the Capitals.
This marks the second straight season the Caps were able to obtain a veteran winger for a third-round pick, then turn around at the trade deadline and replace that lost third-rounder with a fresh second-round choice. Washington picked up Jeff Friesen from New Jersey for a third-rounder in Sep. 2005, then swapped him to Anaheim for a second-round pick last Mar.
Zednik gives the Isles some scoring depth on the wing, and may enable New York to ship soon-to-be-free-agent Jason Blake off to a Western Conference club in exchange for a bounty of picks and/or prospects. The Islanders are currently tied for eighth in the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings.