Devante Smith-Pelly makes impression in Ducks rookies' loss
Devante Smith-Pelly knew the Ducks were interested in him after they interviewed him twice before the June entry draft. So the 18-year-old left wing did his homework, analyzing their roster to see what his prospects might be in their organization.
“I looked and saw their top six forwards were pretty much set with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan,” said Smith-Pelly, who was chosen in the second round, 42nd overall. “But it looked like they were trying to get some bottom six guys with some grit, and I fit in.”
For an aspiring power forward with the grit and abrasive presence that coaches love, Smith-Pelly scored a skillful goal Monday in the Ducks rookies’ 8-4 loss to the Calgary Flames rookies at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, Canada.
Smith-Pelly scored on a fine wrist shot from the right side at 8:13 of the second period, a chance made possible after a Calgary defenseman pinched and the play turned the other way and gave the Ducks an odd-man rush. The goal tied the score at 3-3 but proved to be the Ducks' last hurrah before the Flames began to dominate.
"We could see we were kind of a younger team coming into the tournament,” Smith-Pelly said by phone Monday. “We’re just trying to do a lot of positive things.”
Prospects John Kurtz, Jake Newton and Jake Carrick scored the other goals for the Ducks rookies, who will face Vancouver in their tournament finale Wednesday at 4 p.m. The tournament, which also includes the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks, is being streamed live at http://youngstars.insinc.com/. Seal Beach product Mitch Wahl had an assist for Calgary.
Smith-Pelly had 29 goals and 62 points in 60 games with the St. Michael’s-Mississauga Majors last season, up from 13 goals and 25 points the previous season. He has grown to a muscular 6 feet tall and 211 pounds and he used his size to good advantage last season.
“I was one of the go-to guys on the team, so it was a good situation,” he said. “I just want to keep working hard and improving.”
The Ducks' main training camp will begin this weekend, with players reporting to Anaheim for physicals on Friday and practices on Saturday. Ryan remains unsigned and negotiations on a new deal for the restricted free agent winger have bogged down after gaining some momentum last week.
-- Helene Elliott