The Washington Times - June 30, 2011, 12:17PM

The first departure of the Capitals’ offseason – officially, anyway – belongs to defenseman Tyler Sloan.

On Thursday, the Caps bought Sloan out of the final year of his contract, the team confirmed. Sloan, who was set to make $700,000 this season, will count $233,333 against the cap over the next two years.

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It was a process started by putting Sloan on waivers earlier in the week. He cleared, then was put on unconditional waivers. When he cleared those at noon Thursday, the team bought him out.

Sloan, 30, had four goals and 13 assists in parts of three seasons with the Caps. He finished his Washington career with a minus-3 rating.

The move clears up a contract space and roster spot for the Caps.

Counting Tom Poti, whose future is uncertain because of a nagging groin injury, the Caps have six defensemen on the NHL roster. Karl Alzner is a restricted free agent and is likely to be back.

Sloan will be free to sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent Friday at noon.