Former Washington Capitals forward and 2018 Stanley Cup champion Devante Smith-Pelly is getting back in the swing of pro hockey in North America. The 29-year-old signed a professional tryout with the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL-affiliate Laval Rocket on Tuesday.
Smith-Pelly most recently played with the AHL’s Ontario Reign last season. He laced ’em up for 14 games with the L.A. Kings’ affiliate, dishing one assist in 14 games. Before that, he was playing overseas with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star in 2019-20, where he had eight goals and 11 points in 36 games.
DSP was a fan favorite in Washington, especially given his clutch role in helping lead the franchise to its first-ever Stanley Cup title. He scored the game-tying goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights that ultimately led to a series-clinching 4-3 victory.
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However, things took a turn in 2018-19. Smith-Pelly struggled with conditioning and training camp and had a tough showing through 54 games with the team, recording just four goals and eight points and a +/- of minus-6. As a result, the Capitals assigned him to the AHL’s Hershey Bears, where he had six goals and 14 points in 20 games.
With COVID-19 and other circumstances leading to a number of open roster spots, Smith-Pelly has the opportunity to not only secure a contract but also show that he still belongs in the pros. The 6-0, 223-pound winger is a physical player who can get to the net and skate well in all three zones. He has the ability to play a strong two-way game and can also generate pressure on the forecheck.
Smith-Pelly originally went to Anaheim the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He has 91 points in 158 career AHL games and has tallied 44 goals and 101 points in 395 games at the NHL level.