This is part 12 of my Prospect File series where I update you guys’ on Hockey’s Future’s Top 20 Anaheim Ducks prospects. This will be a daily series that will hopefully end before the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. I will also be doing a series on possible players the Ducks will take with their first round pick. Part 11 was on center Antoine Laganiere. So, next up in part 12 is #9 on HF’s Top 20, winger Devante Smith-Pelly.
Last season, one of the few bright spots for the Anaheim Ducks was rookie Devante Smith-Pelly. In a season that was lost from the start, Smith-Pelly showed flashes of a player that could be very valuable in the future. His numbers didn’t exactly show it, 7 goals and 6 assists for 13 points in 49 games played, but he showed he was willing to do what the the team needed of him. This year, however, he wasn’t quite up to the task to dress for the Ducks consistently and spent almost all of the year in the AHL. He needed to improve his defensive play and he seemed to struggle big time. He finished the year with Norfolk with a -17. He also tallied 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 65 games played. He dressed for the Ducks 7 times this past year and went pointless. He just seemed to be a different player. His stock has fallen among Ducks prospects , but he still remains a solid prospect that can be a good third-line forward who can pitch in offensively. He’ll need to step it up next year if he doesn’t want the label of a bust.
Position: Left/Right Wing
Weight: 225 lbs.
“The surprise of last season for the Ducks has seen the shine come off just a little bit. While Smith-Pelly still has a solid opportunity as a bottom-line grinder in the Ducks organization, the biggest step he has to take is being more defensively responsible. Despite all the good things Smith-Pelly did last season like getting in the dirty areas of the ice and throwing the body around, his defensive zone play was a step behind. He went into Norfolk this season looking to improve on that but came away with an ominous minus-17 rating. Granted, plus-minus is not the best indicator, but Smith-Pelly still does have a long way to go defensively if he wants to be a mainstay in the NHL. He improved in his offensive game a bit and continues to be a nuisance to opposing teams in front of and behind the net but hockey is not a one zone sport, and the former Mississauga Major is quickly finding that out.”
“Skates very well, possesses some skill and is also a very good banger in open ice. Is very strong on his skates, thanks to his strong lower base. Can play either wing position. Is a capable checker.Still needs to work on his overall play without the puck, including positioning in all three zones. Could also stand to become a better passer to maximize his offensive potential at the NHL level.”
Next up in the series will be center William Karlsson.