Key Stat: Smith-Pelly registered a career high 75 games played through the regular season. Including the playoffs his season total climbed to 99, thirteen more than his previous best of 86.
Interesting Stat: In those 75 regular season games Smith-Pelly tallied seven goals, or 0.09 per game. In the postseason he kicked his production up to 0.29 goals per game by tallying seven through 24 contests (including three in the Stanley Cup Finals).
The Good: Smith-Pelly joined the Capitals last summer on a one year, $650,000 contract signed in July. The still-young power forward bounced around Washington’s forward lines and ultimately settled within the team’s regular bottom six. He was solid if not spectacular throughout the regular season but the seventh year pro turned into another player in the postseason. Smith-Pelly’s stick went red hot from the start, tallying a goal in the third period of Washington’s first game against Columbus and adding a second in the clinching contest. He would pot two against Tampa Bay as well before going off with three against the Golden Knights. Against Vegas Smith-Pelly scored timely goals for the Capitals in games three, four, and five, including the game winner in game four. Smith-Pelly averaged 0.33 points per playoff contest, a noticeable improvement from his regular season mark of 0.21.
And here’s something that we can file under “The Good from The Ugly,” via the Washington Post:
During a February game in Chicago this past season, Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL, was in the penalty box when four fans shouted racist taunts at him. They were later ejected, and a Chicago Tribune columnist then suggested Blackhawks fans donate to a charity of Smith-Pelly’s choosing as a sort of civic apology. Smith-Pelly endeared himself to Washington fans even more when he directed the charity money to Fort Dupont Ice Arena, the only full-size indoor ice arena in the District and home to the Cannons, the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America.
Atta boy, Champ.
DSP turned his past season into a second one-year contract with Washington worth $1 million. Tough to argue that he didn’t earn the extension and that both parties agreed to a very friendly cap hit.
The Bad: Smith-Pelly notched a career high 38 penalty minutes in the regular season (19 in one game against Vancouver after defending Brooks Orpik’s honor) and 12 in the postseason. He registered two regular season fights but that means he was guilty of twenty minor penalties throughout the season. For a player that regularly plays on the penalty kill that’s far too many. DSP also ended the regular season on a 29-game goalless and 24-game pointless streak which, well, isn’t very good.
Smith-Pelly and His Linemates (chart by @muneebalamcu):
Smith-Pelly’s 5v5 Usage (chart by @muneebalamcu):
Smith-Pelly’s Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (chart by @muneebalamcu):
The Vote: Rate Smith-Pelly below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Smith-Pelly turned an average season into one to remember with an excellent spring... which had the Caps interested in retaining the winger, but probably not at the price he could command on the open market. But now he’s re-signed (one year, $1 million). Is it a good one for both sides? What kind of role do you envision for him in 2018-19? What would it take for you to give him a “10” next year?
Other Smith-Pelly Season Reviews: RMNB
How do you rate Devante Smith-Pelly’s 2017-18 season?
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