Following eight years in the NHL and 11 years playing at the pro level, former Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly announced he is hanging up the skates.
Smith-Pelly wrote on social media that he has decided to close the book on professional hockey. He has not played this season following a year with the Montreal Canadiens' AHL-affiliate Laval Rocket, who he signed a PTO with in 2021-22. He had four goals and four assists in 24 games with the minor league team.
"I have decided to end this chapter of my life and retire. I'm grateful for the opportunity to live out my dream of playing in the NHL," Smith-Pelly wrote on Instagram. "Throughout my career, I've experienced the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. I was able to travel to places I never thought I'd see and play alongside and against some of the best players in the world of hockey. I am so proud to say a kid from Scarborough, Ontario leaves a Stanley Cup champion. I will be forever grateful for my experience."
Smith-Pelly joined Washington in the 2017 offseason and played the role of hero in 2017-18. He had 16 points in 75 games over the course of the regular season and made an impact playing on the fourth line. In the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he scored seven goals, including the game-tying tally in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights that came off a highlight-reel shot while falling. It set the stage for a third-period rally where Lars Eller ultimately scored the game and series winner for the team's first-ever championship.
After his 2017-18 season, DSP signed a one-year extension to stay in D.C. and played 54 games with the big club and 20 with the AHL-affiliate Hershey Bears.
Several former Capitals teammates took to social media to congratulate Smith-Pelly on his career and wish him the best in the future.
"Congrats, brother!" captain Alex Ovechkin wrote with a heart emoji.
Tom Wilson called Smith-Pelly "one of the most clutch to do it," and also wrote "2018 fam for life." T.J. Oshie and former Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny also sent congrats to "Devo." Several other players, including P.K. Subban, Jordan Kyrou, Wojtek Wolski and more, commented with tributes to Smith-Pelly as well.
Smith-Pelly also thanked Washington for his two years with the organization, calling his time in the District "the most amazing experience."
"I will always be connected to my teammates, the fans and the city. We made history," he wrote.
He also paid tribute to former Capitals forward Joel Ward and other role models who paved the way for Black players in the NHL, including Anthony and Chris Stewart and Wayne Simmonds.