The Washington Capitals are re-signing Stanley Cup playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelley to a one-year contract worth $1 million, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun:
Though the 26-year-old had just seven goals and 16 points during the regular season, Smith-Pelly came through when his team needed it most in the Stanley Cup Final. He registered goals in Games 3, 4 and 5 - leading the Capitals to their very first Stanley Cup championship. He also contributed a pair of goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Capitals have only been champions for three weeks, but general manager Brian MacLellan has already been busy. After head coach Barry Trotz shockingly decided to leave the team following a contract dispute, MacLellan re-signed No. 1 defenceman John Carlson to a lucrative eight-year, $64 million extension.
On top of that, MacLellan dealt away backup goalie Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenceman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Smith-Pelley has never topped 25 points in a season, but the Capitals are giving him a "show me" contract. Should he perform in an entire 82-game campaign like he did in the Stanley Cup Final, Smith-Pelley will set himself up nicely for a bigger contract next offseason.
According to CapFriendly.com, the Capitals now have approximately $12.215 million in salary cap space. That give MacLellan room to sign another top-six forward or the choice to add some more blueliners. Virtually every core player is locked up for the 2018-19 season and beyond, so the title window is open for a few more seasons in Washington.
Getting Smith-Pelley to sign a cheap one-year deal is a big win for MacLellan, and it certainly helps the team keep salary cap space open. The goal for Smith-Pelley to have a career year and earn more when he hits free agency next year.