Player Name/position: Devante Smith-Pelly, RW
Overall Grade: D, for a guy who played more than half the season with the big club last year, you have to expect more than just a cup of coffee.
Contract Status: signed through 2013-14 $870,000 Cap Hit; $690,000 Salary (per Capgeek, of course)
2013 Stats: 7 Games Played; 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, minus-4, 8:59 TOI/G
2013 AHL: 65 GP, 14-18-32, minus-20,
Playoff Stats: N/A
Offense: Despite the lockout, the simple fact that he played 42 fewer games this season in the NHL than last would seem to indicate that he did not meet expectations. However, as one might expect his numbers in the AHL this season on a per game basis (.49 P/G, .21 G/G) were significantly better than his NHL numbers last year (.27 P/G, .14 G/G). Of course that is comparing apples and oranges when quality of competition is taken into account, so it's hard to tell what he would have been able to do with more consistent opportunities at the top level.
Defense: As dicey as it may be to look solely at plus/minus, there is no disputing that minus-20 is not a good sign, particularly for a player like Smith-Pelly who has the size and skill to be a force on both sides of the puck. If you're interested, his Corsi On 5-on-5 was -26.31 (per behindthenet.ca) ahead of only Brad Staubitz and Rikard Rakell for the Ducks this season, but a sample size of seven games isn't going to tell you much statistically or anecdotally.
Highlight of the Season: DSP broke out with 12 points in the month of March (5-7-12) nearly doubling his numbers for the rest of the season combined, to that point (6-10-16). In fairness, he only played four games in January, thanks to being called up for training camp and the start of the NHL season.
Expectations for Next Year: I, personally, still have high hopes for DSP. Based on what I read coming out of our Norfolk correspondents, Shawn and Scott, this season he seemed to have a very strong end of the year after struggling early on. Of course, that still raises concerns about how he adjusted to the heightened level of play in the AHL while the lockout was in effect. I'd still love to see him with a chance to get those child bearing hips in front of NHL goalies and evolve into our version of a Tomas Holmstrom or Johan Franzen, which has been sorely missed since the departure of Dustin Penner.