2014-2015 Season Stats
Anaheim Ducks - (5G-12A-17P) in 55 games played
Montreal Canadiens - (1G-2A-3P) in 20 regular season games played; (1G-2A-3P) in 12 playoff games played
A Bit of History
Devante Smith-Pelly was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2010. As a young 19-year old player DSP was able to make the big club's 2011 opening night roster after a successful training camp showing. He skated 49 games in that season, scoring 7 goals with 6 assists. But after his first NHL season DSP took a step back and spent most of his time in the minors.
After performing relatively well and scoring 5 goals in the 2013-14 postseason, Smith-Pelly began the 14-15 season with high hopes of permanently cracking the the ever elusive Boudreau line up as perhaps a bottom 6 forward. While he did log in full time with the Ducks he moved up and down the line up, getting some time with the first line before being pushed back to the fourth line.
This season DSP had posted career-highs with the Ducks, achieving 17 points in 54 games with an average TOI of 14:39. But on February 24th the Ducks swapped DSP for Jiri Sekac from the Canadiens, a player with seemingly identical stats and potential.
How Did He Do?
Coming into the 14-15 season I think most of us were a bit unsure of what to expect, specifically unsure of what to expect from the younger players like Hampus Lindholm, Emerson Etem and Smith-Pelly. Smith-Pelly had looked like a bust after his breakout season, that is until the 2014 playoffs. And while that was so, we all knew that the window on DSP was winding down and that the 14-15 season could very well be his last chance to prove to the club that he was worth keeping. There just wasn't enough room to keep borderline players in Anaheim.
But that's exactly what DSP came to be on the club. Despite being used on the powerplay, DSP was mediocre at best. While he was touted for his heaviness and grit, he lacked the speed, finesse and skill necessary to make him indispensable in Anaheim. He had the potential to be a human wrecking ball, but even his physical game wasn't enough to make a large impact on the club. The Ducks can spare a few big-bodied, gritty players.
We were neither excited or devastated by his play. Rarely did he spark awe, and more often than none was he merely lackluster.
We were neither shocked or shaken by his trade. In fact, throughout the season there had been speculation stirring among the fan base on whether he and Etem could possibly be packaged for some return.
The DSP-Sekac trade was supposed to provide the change that both players needed. Smith-Pelly actually had playoff experience and could potentially aid the Canadiens in their push with his ability to grind and hit. Similarly, Sekac had the speed, skill and finesse that the Ducks were short of.
In conclusion, while there may still be some room for growth and potential in DSP his time had run out in Anaheim. While he didn't necessarily stop producing (17 points in 54 games), he wasn't able to make an impact that set him apart from the rest. Maybe Montreal will be the change in setting he needs to reach his full potential, but that remains to be seen.