Capitals fourth line winger Devante Smith-Pelly lit up the playoffs, scoring seven goals and snagging one assist en route to a Stanley Cup.
But Smith-Pelly has been held from preseason action. Capitals head coach Todd Reirden clarified that the reason is “in house.”
“He’s still trying to get to the level where he was at last year, and until he does, it doesn’t do us any good for him to be playing in games. He’s working really hard to get back to that spot and he’s close, but until he’s at that spot, he won’t be in the lineup because I don’t feel that’s setting a player up for success at all. But we’re hoping that’s in the next little bit here.
“He had just a phenomenal postseason for us and he was a really important player for us. If you don’t get that sort of impact from your bottom six guys, then you’re not going to win a Stanley Cup and he was a huge part for us. Like I said, we need him in there and I hope to have him in there soon.”
When Reirden was pressed further, he wouldn’t clarify if what was sidelining DSP was a health or conditioning problem.
Reirden wouldn't say is Smith-Pelly has a health or conditioning issue.
“It’s something that I think we’ll just keep in house in terms of with the specific player. Like I said, he’s not at the level that he was at last year & that to me is really all there is to say about it. "
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) September 21, 2018
Smith-Pelly was more straight-forward. When asked during an interview with reporters, DSP confirmed it was a conditioning issue.
“Right now, no [I’m not injured]. It was a short summer. I’m not going to make any excuse or anything, but short summer,” Smith-Pelly said according to Gulitti. “Everyone is trying to get ready for the start of the year and everyone’s path is a little different.”
During the first day of training camp, Smith-Pelly was spotted getting treatment on the bench from Cleo Bates, the team massage therapist.
Photo: Elizabeth Kong
The Capitals first regular season game is October 3 against the Boston Bruins.
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