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Smith-Pelly re-signs with Capitals

Forward gets one-year, $1 million contract

NHL.com @NHL

Devante Smith-Pelly signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

The 26-year-old forward was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I had a couple other offers on one- or two-year deals, but I just thought it wasn't really worth it," Smith-Pelly said. "It wasn't worth it to leave somewhere where I'm happy and somewhere where I really want to be."

Smith-Pelly was a potential restricted free agent with arbitration rights before the Capitals didn't make him a qualifying offer before the deadline Monday. The sides continued to negotiate after that and reached an agreement Wednesday.

Playing mostly on the fourth line and penalty kill, Smith-Pelly had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 75 games during the regular season. He scored seven goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help Washington win the Cup for the first time in its 43-season history.

Video: Capitals re-sign Smith-Pelly for one year

"The team, I think everyone can see how close we are," Smith-Pelly said. "We all want to come back and play and try it again with the same group. Obviously, it might not work that way, but I think that's what's everyone's intention, to all come back and all be the same group. It's just incredibly close and so incredibly comfortable there. And then obviously the city, the city's embraced me and it's a beautiful place to live. The money to me personally is not that important if I'm not going to be happy somewhere else.

"I've been in a couple of places and it'd be nice to just stick in for one place for a couple years, and hopefully if it works out, longer than just this one next year. It definitely played a role in the decision. I'm kind of tired of playing on new teams and all that stuff. It's good to come back and be in the same place consecutive years."

Smith-Pelly's three goals in the Stanley Cup Final tied Capitals forward  Alex Ovechkin and Vegas Golden Knights forwards Tomas Nosek and Reilly Smith for most in the series, which Washington won in five games. Smith-Pelly scored in each of the last three games, including one 9:52 into the third period of Game 5 that tied it 3-3. The Capitals won 4-3 on Lars Eller's goal with 7:37 remaining.

Washington signed Smith-Pelly to a one-year, two-year contract ($650,000 NHL salary/$300,000 AHL salary) on July 3, 2017 after the New Jersey Devils bought out the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

He can become a UFA on July 1, 2019.

"It's one year, then UFA and obviously there was two-year deals on the table, a little bit more stability," Smith-Pelly said, "but I have confidence in myself that I can carry over from the playoffs and do something and then set myself up for something bigger and more stable later. It's definitely betting yourself. That's what I'm doing, and I'm confident in myself."

A second-round pick (No. 42) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2010 NHL Draft, Smith-Pelly has 93 points (40 goals, 53 assists) in 341 NHL games with the Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Devils and Capitals. He has 16 points (13 goals, three assists) in 48 NHL playoff games.

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