After two months-plus of waiting, Devante Smith-Pelly has finally found a new landing spot for next season.
The Calgary Flames have given the popular former Capitals forward a PTO, which will give him the opportunity to make the team out of training camp.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) September 4, 2019
Last season was difficult for Smith-Pelly after helping the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018.
DSP came into training camp out of shape. Later in the year, after scoring four goals in 54 games, he was put on waivers and optioned down to Hershey at the trade deadline. He eventually was called back up during the postseason and played in three first-round games against the Carolina Hurricanes, showing the same fire and tenacity that he had in 2018.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said on breakdown day in May that he’d be open to re-signing DSP if certain requirements were met.
“I think internally we had a couple issues and we’ve had to work through them,” MacLellan said. “I think we’ll talk to him going forward. I had an exit meeting with him. Just outlaid our expectations. We need to be assured that those requirements would be met before we brought him back.”
But two months later, DSP hit unrestricted free agency without a deal.
Smith-Pelly recently participated in BioSteel Camp in Toronto. BioSteel founder Matt Nichol believes the forward struggled after a short summer winning the NHL’s championship trophy.
“He had an extremely short off-season (after winning the Cup),” Nichol said to Sportsnet. “We’ve had 10 guys in 10 years win the Cup at our gym, which is cool, but it’s a struggle. Even if you have the best intentions, you come back home and you have all sorts of family and friends demanding your time.”
He added, “Last summer was a learning process. This summer he was very dialed in.”
Former teammates Tom Wilson and Brett Connolly sang DSP’s praises as well.
“He knows this is a big training camp and a big year,” Brett Connolly said. “He’s a confident person and believes in himself. He’s just being patient. There’s a team that’s going to get a really good player at a really good price.”
“I hope the best for him,” Wilson added. As are a couple million Caps fans moving forward.
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