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The Washington Capitals made a move to shore up their blue-line on Monday, shipping prospect Jake Hauswirth and a third-round draft pick in 2011 to the Florida Panthers for defenceman Dennis Wideman on NHL trade deadline day.

Wideman, a 27-year-old stay-at-home defender, carries an annual cap hit of $3,937,500 US and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season.

He has nine goals and 24 assists this season for the Panthers, but owns a dismal minus-26 rating, tied for second-worst in the league.

The veteran now moves to a club that is one of the top contenders in the East.

"I love the way that their team plays, high pace, holding on to the puck, puck possession kind of thing," Wideman told Hockey Night in Canadaon Monday. "It's really exciting, they've got a great team there. I'm excited to go and make a run for a Stanley Cup hopefully."

Mike Green, the Capitals' top offensive defenceman, is currently out of the lineup after taking a puck to the face.

In Hauswirth, the Panthers get a 23-year-old forward who has 14 points in 37 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.

A Michigan native, the youngster is a strong presence, standing six-foot-five and weighing 210 pounds. Washington signed him as a free agent in May 2009.