Devante Smith-Pelly Signs With Washington Capitals

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Devante Smith-Pelly
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly (25) in action on January 21, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Washington Capitals, 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals have signed unrestricted free agent Devante Smith-Pelly to a one-year contract worth $1M. This contract carries him through the end of next season. Smith-Pelly became an unrestricted free agent when he was not tendered a qualifying offer by the  Capitals in June. However, the team decided to bring him back.

Smith-Pelly reportedly took less money to stay with the Capitals. There was rumored to be two other teams interested.

Capitals Signs Devante Smith-Pelly

Taken 42nd overall by the Anaheim Ducks back in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Devante Smith-Pelly picked up 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 75 regular season games this year. Primarily appearing on the third and fourth lines, Smith-Pelly racked up 151 hits, 62 blocked shots, and only 38 penalty minutes. On the other hand, he carried a Corsi-for of just 44.4 percent and a relative Corsi of -4.7.

Next Step for Devante Smith-Pelly

While his contributions don’t always appear on the score sheet, Smith-Pelly proved to be an asset in Washington’s bottom six last year. Then, he had a monster post-season that absolutely factored in heavily to the Caps decision to bring him back. He chipped in seven goals and eight points in 24 games during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup. His seven playoff goals matched his full regular season total. He will be 26 when training camp opens for 2018-19.

Devante Smith-Pelly is a hard-nosed hockey player who knows how to dump and chase, shoot for rebounds, and crash the net with full force. Unfortunately, his possession metrics are less than favorable. That being said, he has historically been deployed a lot more often in the defensive zone than anywhere else. This likely contributes to the lopsided possession numbers and also suggests his coaches trust his defensive abilities.

Smith-Pelly can continue increasing his value at the NHL level by playing to his strengths as he did last year. Translating his playoff success to the regular season would be enormous too. His playoff goal rate would be good for over 20 goals in a full season. Smith-Pelly could achieve that and break the 20-goal plateau. Without Smith-Pelly, the Capitals arguably may not have won a Cup. He performed best at the biggest moments, embodying a clutch-performer.

 

Main Photo: WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly (25) in action on January 21, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.. The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Washington Capitals, 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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