Capitals Send Simon, Nikolishin To Chicago

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The Washington Capitals have traded forwards Chris Simon and unsigned restricted free agent Andrei Nikolishin to the Chicago Blackhawks.

In exchange, the Capitals get center Michael Nylander, a third-round pick in 2003 and a conditional 3rd round draft pick in the 2004 entry draft.

Simon, 30, has been a rare player at times, combining toughness with scoring ability. He peaked in 1999-2000, scoring 29 goals while logging 149 penalty minutes.

But his scoring stats have declined since then. He has scored only 24 goals in the last two seasons combined, and has yet to score this season.

“We’ve known since the second half of last season that we needed to add playing toughness to our top three lines,” said Blackhawks GM Mike Smith. “Nikolishin is a top defensive center who will compliment our offensive centers. Simon is a top line player who commands physical respect.”

Nikolishin, 29, is coming off a 13 goal season. He has been a steady if unspectacular NHL player. In 519 games, he has 82 goals and 247 points. His best season was 1995-96 with Hartford, when he scored 14 goals and 51 points.

Nylander, 30, had 15 goals and 61 points last season and has scored 20 or more goals three times. In 557 career games, he has 122 goals and 376 points.

W.C.