The Capitals claimed forward Aaron Volpatti off waivers on Thursday and added him to their NHL roster. Volpatti, 27, had been with the Vancouver Canucks the past three seasons. He was placed on waivers on Wednesday.

Volpatti is a rugged customer despite a 6-foot, 215-pound frame. He has already fought four times in 16 games this season for the Canucks, who used him in a very specific role: At even strength on the fourth line with the majority of his starts (76 percent) coming in the defensive or neutral zones.

A Brown University graduate, Volpatti played there for four years and had 236 career penalty minutes in college. At the NHL level he has 81 penalty minutes in just 54 games over these past three seasons. He has fought seven times in his career. Other than Matt Hendricks – 29 the last three seasons, including four this year – and John Erskine – 14 total fights dating back to 2009-10 – that’s not a skill Washington possesses in abundance. You may argue it is a skill no team should care if it has or not, but that’s not yet the way the NHL works.

Volpatti has just three goals and one assist ever so don’t go expecting any offensive contributions from him. No Canucks player who has appeared in more than five games has seen easier quality of competition minutes (-0.317), according to the statistical web site Behind the Net. Maybe because he’s usually in the penalty box, Volpatti didn’t see a second of time on the penalty kill with Vancouver and just 2:05 on the power play. No surprise given that role, but he led the Canucks with 2.1 penalties taken/60 minutes of ice time. That included four minors. He averaged 7:18 per game.

Volpatti, a British Columbia native, will join the Caps in Winnipeg on Friday. They play the Jets there on Saturday afternoon before returning to Washington. The next home game is Tuesday against Boston.

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