The 38-year-old defenceman has played in only four games this season with Washington, after being a reliable contributor last year in the team's upset first round playoff win over Boston. He is in the final season of a two-year, $7 million US contract he signed in the summer of 2011.
The Capitals placed him on waivers Tuesday after signing and recalling defenceman Steve Oleksy from Hershey of the AHL on Monday.
Hamrlik has played for six NHL teams since making his debut in 1992 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that selected him first overall in that year's draft.
The Czech blue-liner has also suited up for Edmonton, the New York Islanders, Calgary and Montreal in his career.
He's scored 155 goals and 483 assists for 638 points in 1,383 regular season games, the most of any active NHL player. He has 1,402 penalty minutes, sixth among all active players.
New York defeated Philadelphia 4-2 on Tuesday, but defenceman Marc Staal suffered an eye injury when struck by a puck. It is not yet known how long Staal might be out of the lineup.