When the Capitals placed Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers Wednesday, it felt like his time in Washington would soon be at an end. Now it seems that may not be the case.

Smith-Pelly cleared waivers on Thursday meaning no team put in a claim for him and his contract still remains with the Caps. He will be reassigned to the Hershey Bears, Washington’s AHL affiliate, a team official confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.

How long he stays there will largely depend on what the Caps do in the coming days before the trade deadline.

When a player clears waivers and is reassigned to the AHL, he does not need to clear waivers again to be recalled. Thus, the Caps could recall Smith-Pelly at any time provided he fits under the roster limits and salary cap.

The addition of Carl Hagelin puts Washington at the 23-player maximum making this not an option until after the deadline unless the Caps free up another roster spot. Washington is also very tight against the salary cap ceiling and it may take some maneuvering by the team in order to fit Smith-Pelly under the cap.

Smith-Pelly was among the playoff heroes for the Caps last season with seven goals in 24 playoff games. If Washington cannot fit him on the roster during the season, it is almost certain he will be recalled for the playoffs.


Whether he will be expected to take on a significant role, however, seems doubtful after he was waived and with Hagelin now in the fold.