Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
After a confusing start to the Capitals’ morning practice, it is now apparent that right wing Devante Smith-Pelly’s time as a member of the Capitals is most likely coming to an end, after the team announced he was placed on waivers, having until noon on Thursday to clear or be picked up by another team. While his time in the Red, White, and Blue was short, it was one that many players would give anything to have.
Signed by the Caps during the summer of 2017 as a reclamation project like fellow right wing Brett Connolly had been the season prior (one that continues to pay dividends for the Capitals), Smith-Pelly scored seven goals and added nine assists for 16 points in 75 regular season games played last season for the Capitals, averaging 12:21 of ice time under former Head Coach Barry Trotz. However, it was Smith-Pelly’s performance in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs that earned the adoration of the DMV and the Capitals as an organization. In 24 games played, Smith-Pelly scored seven times and added one assist to help the Caps win the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup championship; his most notable of the seven goals was the game-tying goal in the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 in Las Vegas against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Capitals re-signed Smith-Pelly to a one-year, $1 million deal after the season, in the hopes that his playoff performance would carry over into the 2018-19 regular season. However, the 26-year old forward has struggled this season, with just four goals and eight points in 54 games played under first-year Head Coach Todd Reirden, at times sitting as a healthy scratch. Smith-Pelly’s season started off on the wrong foot, as he was held out of the lineup during the preseason for unspecified reasons, though there was speculation it may have been due to poor physical condition upon arrival to training camp. The Caps initially decided on placing fellow forward Dmitrij Jaskin on waivers, but, per Reirden, changed their minds due to “moving parts” (which could be due to the team’s likely acquisition of Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings).
While Smith-Pelly’s second season with the Capitals is/was one to forget, there is no denying that his signing, in hindsight, turned out to be a great one for General Manager Brian MacLellan. Not only did Smith-Pelly provide phenomenal depth throughout the 2017-18 season, but he etched his name in Washington Capitals and Stanley Cup Playoff history forever. For that, Capitals fans will forever be grateful!
Thank You DSP!
By Michael Fleetwood