Smith-Pelly: Unsung Hero for the Capitals

By Patrick Hoffman

When it comes to the Washington Capitals, players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Braden Holtby, and even Tom Wilson get a lot of the attention.

While it is certainly understandable why hockey fans and the media follow these players closely, there is one player on the Caps that also deserves a ton of credit for his performance in this year's playoffs. In fact, coming into the postseason, no one even mentioned his name.

That all changed this year with the emergence of 25-year-old forward Devante Smith-Pelly. While his career numbers with the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, and now the Capitals don't exactly jump off the page, it was his play in his team's Cup-winning postseason that turned a lot of heads for several reasons.

Smith-Pelly actually scored 7 goals in this year's postseason. In fact, two of the 7 goals he scored were game-winning goals, if you can believe that.

What's even more amazing is that in his team's most important series in franchise history, Smith-Pelly managed to score 3 goals on 7 shots. That goes to show that at least in the Cup Final, he was absolutely clutch for his hockey club.

Smith-Pelly also played well at both ends of the ice in this series. He blocked a few shots, created a few turnovers, threw his body around, and was just an effective player all series long.

Again, he may not get the attention he deserves, but his play in this Final certainly did not go unnoticed by the true hockey fans out there.

Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.caKukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.