Monday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced that they did not give Devante Smith-Pelly a qualifying offer by the 5 PM deadline for restricted free agents.
The popular forward will now become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 unless the Capitals, who are still negotiating with Smith-Pelly, can reach an agreement with the forward before then.
#Caps extend qualifying offers to Tom Wilson, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Liam O’Brien, and Riley Barber. #Caps do not extend qualifying offer to Devante Smith-Pelly, but are still negotiating with him.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) June 25, 2018
While Smith-Pelly scored seven big goals during the Caps’ Stanley Cup Final run, the team either did not believe the forward was worth either the mandatory 10 percent raise ($715,000) or were wary of what he could have made in arbitration. The Capitals have several young players who could step up and thrive in a bigger role next season like Nathan Walker and Travis Boyd.
The Capitals used the same non-tender strategy with Brett Connolly last season, signing the forward to a two-year extension, but DSP could have several suitors after his huge performance in the postseason.
According to RMNB’s Peter Hassett, Smith-Pelly was used defensively last season, starting 56 percent of his non-neutral shifts in the defensive zone, and he was underwater in every measurement: shot attempts at 44 percent, expected goals at 47 percent, goals at 43 percent. These are brutal numbers.
But there was a consistent upside to Smith-Pelly’s game, and one that paid dividends in the postseason: his shot volume. During the regular season Smith-Pelly personally attempted 13.4 shots per hour – ranking him fourth highest among Caps forwards.
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