Capitals waive Smith-Pelly

In a surprising move today, the Washington Capitals decided to waive Devante Smith-Pelly after signing him to a one-year deal last offseason. The move was surprising, especially as Smith-Pelly had been looking to stay for some time.

Devante Smith-Pelly came in last year and proved his abilities when they mattered most. He was perhaps the unsung hero of the Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring seven goals, including one in Game Five of the Finals tying the game and eventually leading to the Cup win. Many early reports believed Dimitrij Jaksin would be waived instead to make room on the salary cap. But Smith-Pelly’s call instead seemed to herald something greater, a different move being taken within the Caps organization.

The 26-year old winger has previously played for the Devils, Canadiens, and Ducks before being claimed by the Caps last year. While his talent and age were called into question, Smith-Pelly was a cornerstone of the team. The decline in his statistical performance meant his contribution was called into question. The Capitals may not want someone who hasn’t developed in a year as they go for a repeat. While Smith-Pelly did make some miracle plays last year, none of that has shown yet this year. The Capitals may have a major trade in mind to relinquish a player of his known talent. Only time will tell if this plays out, though.

So where does the 26-year old from Scarborough go now? As a veteran with playoff experience, there is a demand for him, even if his play wasn’t quite up to par. The Maple Leafs are reported to already be in talks with Smith-Pelly and are the hands-on favorite to claim him. Perhaps Calgary could even add some depth to their roster as they make the final push. But wherever he lands, D.C. will never forget his role in their Stanley Cup push last season. His place in local history has already been cemented.

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