Forward Devante Smith-Pelly and the Anaheim Ducks agreed to terms on a new two year, $1.6 contract Tuesday. Smith-Pelly tallied just two regular-season goals last season, bringing his career total to nine goals and 14 assists for the Ducks so far, but based on his five playoff goals last year he should’ve been first in line to be signed in my opinion.
Regardless, with the contract signed Smith-Pelly can turn his attention to improving his skills and impressing the coaches in training camp. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid will excel for the Ducks this season. He’s got size, speed and is a great two way player.
Smith-Pelly gives head Coach Bruce Boudreau a lot more depth within his roster because he can play on any line. He’ll be getting a lot more ice time in the upcoming season. He’ll likely be rotating the first and second line, with occasional opportunities on the team’s powerplay units as well. With all this ice time, Smith Pelly has the potential to be one of the Duck’s top forwards this season and the prospect of him alongside Kesler and Maroon is an intriguing one.
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This is the year for Smith-Pelly to really prove himself. He’s set to help fill the spot left by Saku Koivu, who retired earlier this month. The question will be whether or not he’ll be able to start scoring goals consistently throughout the season.
Smith-Pelly has the raw talent and skills, but has been known to tally quite a few penalty minutes due to his lack of experience - accumulating 24 penalty minutes in the playoffs last year, which ended up costing his team quite considerably.
However, at just 22, Smith-Pelly has plenty of time to learn to keep his composure in high pressure situations. Regardless, I really like the way this guy plays. He plays the game at a high level of intensity and uses his speed and size to protect the puck and beat his opponents. He plays the game with the same style as forwards Claude Giroux and Rick Nash.
The Anaheim Ducks will be front runners to take top spot in the Western Conference again this season. The organization has a fantastic core group of players in Getzlaf, Perry Cogliano and Silfverberg. The organization still has a bit of work to do to strengthen the team’s defense however.
The team really needs to sign another experienced defenseman to help anchor the defense and guide the younger players to success. But overall, this team certainly has the talent and ability to launch another lengthy playoff run this season.