Devante Smith-Pelly, one of the Stanley Cup Final heroes for the Washington Capitals, was one of the more notable restricted free agents to not be given a qualifying offer earlier this week. By not receiving one from the Capitals he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent and was free to begin speaking to other teams around the league.
Not even one week later it seems that he will be returning to the Capitals after all.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Wednesday afternoon that Smith-Pelly is closing in on a one-year contract to return to the Capitals, while Kevin Weekes and Bob McKenzie both added that it will pay him $1 million for the 2018-19 season. LeBrun also added that Smith-Pelly had more lucrative offers from two other teams but wanted to return to the Capitals.
Smith-Pelly had a difficult regular season for the Capitals that saw him score just seven goals and 16 total points. That is what made it so surprising that he played such a huge role in the playoffs as he matched his regular season goal total during the Capitals’ run to their first ever Stanley Cup. Among those seven goals were three in the Stanley Cup Final series against the Vegas Golden Knights, including one in each of the final three games of the series. His goal in the Capitals’ clinching Game 5 win tied the game mid-way through the third period, setting the stage for Lars Eller‘s winning goal just a couple of minutes later.
Smith-Pelly made $650,000 for the Capitals during the 2017-18 season. He signed with the team in free agency after the second year of a two-year contract with the New Jersey Devils was bought out.