WASHINGTON (AP) -The New York Islanders, locked in a tight race to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, added offense Monday when they acquired winger Richard Zednik from the Washington Capitals for a second-round draft pick in 2007.
Zednik has six goals and 12 assists for the Capitals this season. He has also missed 31 games with wrist and groin injuries.
"Richard is a proven offensive talent," New York general manager Garth Snow said. "When you can add a player with his skill and competitiveness for a playoff push at a fair cost, you do it. We believe Richard will fit in well with our team."
The Islanders entered Monday tied with Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, although both teams were only six points behind third-place Ottawa.
The acquisition of Zednik could give the Islanders leeway to move forward Jason Blake, who has been the subject of trade rumors. The NHL's trade deadline is Tuesday.
Zednik, 31, spent parts of six seasons with the Capitals before he was dealt to Montreal in 2001. He scored 20 goals three times for the Canadiens, including a career-high 31 in 2002-03. The Capitals reacquired him from Montreal for a third-round pick last summer.
Zednik is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Capitals attempted to sign him to a contract extension, but general manager George McPhee said the two sides were "not very close" to a deal.
"We discussed it for the last couple of months, and it just didn't work out," McPhee said.
The move could be the first of several before Tuesday's deadline for the Capitals, who have fallen out of playoff contention after a competitive start to the season. McPhee said he first realized he would be a seller rather than a buyer when the team had several injuries during the most compact part of the schedule from Christmas through New Year's Day.
"We lost all five games, and we never recovered," McPhee said. "It's really too bad. The team was having a nice season. We didn't have the depth to survive that."
With the trade, the Capitals have three picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft.
Also on Monday, the Capitals sent defenseman Lawrence Nycholat to Ottawa for defenseman Andy Hedlund and a sixth-round draft pick.
Nycholat, 27, has played in 18 games this season, with two goals and six assists. Hedlund, 28, has spent the season with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League.