After being released from his professional try out by the Calgary Flames, Devante Smith-Pelly has found a new team. It is not in the NHL.
The Stanley Cup champion forward, according to R-Sport, will play for the Kunlun Red Star, a KHL team located in China.
Stanley Cup Champion Devante Smith-Pelly is going to join Kunlun Red Star of KHL, per source https://t.co/7L78fi7CaG
— Семён Галькевич (@galkevich32) October 25, 2019
Kunlun is currently in 11th place in the KHL’s Eastern Conference. The team recently signed former NHL’ers Ryan Sproul and Griffin Reinhart. They made their KHL debuts today. Peter Bondra’s son David as well as former Capital Wojtek Wolski currently play for the team.
— Kunlun Red Star (@KRSchina) October 25, 2019
Michal Latta played for the team last season and scored five goals, including this beauty.
Hockey Baseball https://t.co/FnxUHnZxoG
— Michael Latta (@Latta17) October 8, 2018
The move overseas concludes a stunning turn of events for Smith-Pelly after the checking-line forward scored seven goals during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run in 2018. After inking a PTO with the Flames, Smith-Pelly had the second-worst shot-attempt percentage at five-on-five among all players on Calgary (29 percent). He had no points in four games.
Over the offseason, the Capitals ultimately opted to not bring DSP back, re-tooling its fourth line by signing Brendan Leipsic and Garnet Hathaway. 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.
In late August, Smith-Pelly participated in BioSteel Camp in Toronto and looked back to form according to those who saw him train. “Last summer was a learning process,” Nichol said. “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.
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