It may not have seemed like it at the beginning of the 2013 season, but the Washington Capitals have a bit of a youth movement going on among their blueliners. With that in mind, it was only a matter of time before the defense corps bid adieu to its eldest member.
The New York Rangers claimed Roman Hamrlik off waivers on Wednesday evening, bringing an end to the 38-year old’s time in D.C. As they say in soccer, Hamrlik was surplus to requirements since it became apparent in his first NHL game that Steve Oleksy can play.
In contrast, Hamrlik rarely ever played this year. Adam Oates made it fairly obvious that he was the absolute last choice defenseman when Tom Poti played during John Erskine‘s suspension and Mike Green‘s recent injury troubles. When you can’t get on the ice before a guy who was out of the NHL for over a year, that’s not a good sign.
The Rangers, on the other hand, may actually need Hamrlik to suit up (and if he does, it will be for his seventh NHL team). Marc Staal is out indefinitely after taking a puck to the eye, and Mike Sauer hasn’t played at all this year. The team says the waver claim wasn’t a result of the Staal injury, which might be true, but it will be interesting to see if he goes right into the lineup. He’ll be the highest paid healthy Rangers defenseman since he’s in the second season of a two-year, $7 million contract. No, really.
At his best, “The Hammer” could bring it with the physical play and also contribute on offense. We’ll see if he can still do either one, of those things, but Oleksy looked like he could do both against the Bruins. So farewell Roman. At least under Oates, it’s like we hardly even knew you.