Devante Smith-Pelly may not have gotten a qualifying offer from the Caps, but he is still sticking around in Washington. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic was the first to report.

Smith-Pelly, 26, came to Washington unexpectedly last season as he was bought out by the New Jersey Devils. He signed a one-year deal with Washington and made the most of it. After managing only seven goals and 16 points in 75 regular season games, Smith-Pelly went on a tear in the postseason with seven goals and eight points in the team's Stanley Cup run.

Somewhat surprisingly, the team elected not to give Smith-Pelly, a pending restricted free agent, a qualifying offer by Monday's deadline. The team elected to use a similar tactic with Brett Connolly the previous year and locked him up to a two-year contract.

It is no surprise to hear that other teams were interested in Smith-Pelly given what he did in the postseason—there are always general managers willing to open up the checkbook for playoff performers—but Smith-Pelly elected instead elected to stay in Washington and for relatively cheap.


It should be noted that even if Smith-Pelly did have offers from other teams, he could not sign with anyone but the Capitals until July 1 when free agency opened. Teams could reach out to Smith-Pelly during the interview period, but he would not have officially become a free agent until July 1.

“On the ice and off the ice I feel like this is the best situation I've been in,” Smith-Pelly said at the team's breakdown day. “Obviously, never know what's going to happen but I found a place and I want to be back.”

At 26, Smith-Pelly has already played for four teams in his career. After finding success in Washington, it is understandable why he would want to stay. It also makes sense why the Caps would want to see Smith-Pelly build on last season's success before locking him up long-term.