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Capitals acquire F Dustin Penner from Ducks for 4th-round draft pick

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) and Anaheim Ducks left wing Dustin Penner (17) fight for possession during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. The Washington Capitals have acquired Penner from the Ducks for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gus Ruelas

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Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) and Anaheim Ducks left wing Dustin Penner (17) fight for possession during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. The Washington Capitals have acquired Penner from the Ducks for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gus Ruelas

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals acquired forward Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, adding another potential candidate for the top line of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

The Capitals gave up a fourth-round pick in this year's draft for what is essentially a 20-game rental. Penner signed a one-year, $2 million contract last year and is set to become a free agent this summer.

The Capitals began the day in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They have struggled in particular on defence, an area they could address before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

Penner, 31, has played for the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim over nine NHL seasons. He had 13 goals and 19 assists with the Ducks this season.

He would appear to be a natural fit at left wing on the Capitals' top line. Coach Adam Oates' best options to partner with Ovechkin and Backstrom have been Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich and Martin Erat, but none of the three has looked suited for the role.

"I look forward to coming in," Penner said, "and hopefully adding something they were looking for."

The deal returns to the Ducks the fourth-round pick they sent to Washington in the trade for Mathieu Perreault in September.

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