The Washington Capitals placed right-winger Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers yesterday at noon. There was a little confusion originally, as the Capitals were originally going to place Dmitrij Jaskin on waivers. But during the middle of practice yesterday, Smith-Pelly left the ice and was notified he was being placed on waivers. In the 54 games that he has played in this season, Smith-Pelly has only recorded four goals and four assists. He shined in the playoffs last season, scoring seven goals and an assist and helped the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. In the offseason, the Capitals signed Smith-Pelly to a 1-year, $1 million contract.
At noon eastern time on Feb. 21, it was announced that Smith-Pelly had cleared waivers and was not claimed by any other team. The Capitals are more than likely to send Smith-Pelly down to their AHL affiliate team, the Hershey Bears, as they have a lot of forwards that they have been switching between throughout the season. They could have him develop a little bit more and possibly call him up for the playoffs, as he had been a crucial part of last year’s playoff run.
Following the news that Smith-Pelly cleared waivers at noon, clearing some cap-space for the team, the Capitals engaged in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings, the team that they beat Monday night. The trade comes four days before the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
The Capitals announced Thursday at 12:30 p.m. E.T, that they acquired left-winger Carl Hagelin from L.A. In return, the Capitals sent a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Kings also retain fifty percent of Hagelin’s salary.
Mike Vogel, writer for the Washington Capitals, tweeted the conditions of the trade:
Conditions attached to today's acquisition of Carl Hagelin from LA. Kings will pick up 50% of his salary. #Caps send Kings a 3rd in '19 draft. If Caps win two playoff rounds AND Hagelin plays in half or more of Caps' total number of playoff games in 1st two rounds.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) February 21, 2019
General Manager Brian MacLellan commented on the acquisition of Hagelin saying “We are pleased to welcome Carl to our organization. We felt this trade enables us to add depth up front and provides us with a veteran player with a tremendous amount of speed to help us on the penalty kill.”
The Capitals acquired a player that is sure to help improve their 22nd ranked in the league penalty kill, carrying a 78.4% penalty kill. Last season, the Capitals were ranked seventh with a 80.3% penalty kill.
Hagelin has spent time with four teams in his career. He has a career total of 90 goals and 140 assists in 526 career games. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings Nov 14, 2018 from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since joining the Kings lineup, he has only played in 22 games and recorded a goal and four assists. During his 16 games in Pittsburgh this season before being traded to Los Angeles, Hagelin recorded a goal and two assists.
Hagelin is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer following his 4-year, $16 million contract running out. He will most likely be a one-and-done with the Capitals as they acquired him mainly to help with the push into the playoffs. They could possibly keep him if he agrees to take a major pay cut as the Capitals do not have enough cap space to handle another huge contract in the offseason.
Chris Johnston, Senior Hockey Writer for Sportsnet, tweeted that Hagelin would not be in tonight’s lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs and that he will most likely make his debut Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.