Capitals, Senators swap defensemen

The Ottawa Senators on Monday acquired defenseman Lawrence Nycholat from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Andy Hedlund and a sixth-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Nycholat, 27, has recorded two goals and six assists for eight points in 18 games with Washington this season. He started the season with the Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hershey Bears, and was recalled to Washington on Dec. 23 after leading all AHL defenseman with 28 points (3g, 25a) in 29 games. In 2006, Nycholat helped the Bears capture the Calder Cup championship.

The Calgary native was also voted a starter in the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, but was not able to participate due to his recall.

“We felt we needed more depth at defense,” said Senators general manager John Muckler. “History tells us you need more depth the further you go into the playoffs and Nycholat will be a good addition to our corps.”

Nycholat has played 27 career NHL games between the Capitals and New York Rangers. Undrafted, he was signed by Washington as a free agent on Aug. 9, 2005. In 406 career AHL games between Hershey, Hartford and Houston, he has collected 43 goals, 181 assists, 224 points and 648 penalty minutes.

Hedlund, 28, has played the entire 2006-07 season with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. He has collected five goals, 21 assists and 84 penalty minutes in his fourth season with the B-Sens.

A native of Osseo, Minn., Hedlund has tallied 12 goals and 60 assists for 72 points in 270 career games with Binghamton.