A Closer Look at New Canadiens Acquisition Devante Smith-Pelly


With just under a week before the NHL Trade Deadline, Marc Bergevin pulled the trigger on a swap with the Anaheim Ducks, acquiring Devante Smith-Pelly in exchange for Jiri Sekac.

Smith-Pelly has had a rough start to his NHL career, and is looking for a new start at only 22 years old. He was drafted 42nd overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft. In 54 games this season, he has 5 goals and 17 points. GM Marc Bergevin is likely hoping this change of scenery is the new start that Smith-Pelly needs, to live up to the potential of becoming a top 6 power forward.

Smith-Pelly has a great shot that could really help the team out. Although, he is only 6’0″ he weighs in at 222 lbs. He is a big guy who is also more physical than the 6’2″ Sekac. The Scarborough Ontario native could become a very good player for the Habs, maybe even a player nearly as good as Wayne Simmonds. Only time will tell as he’s still very young.

Oct 18, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (31) makes a save against Montreal Canadiens left wing Jiri Sekac (26) as left wing Cody McLeod (55) defends during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

As for Jiri Sekac, he was an undrafted gem that the Habs picked up in the summer, signing him to a 2 year entry level contract. In 50 games, Sekac has 7 goals and 16 points. However,  he hasn’t scored a goal in over 20 games. That’s not saying he’s been horrible, playing just 13:38 per game, but he hasn’t looked particularly good offensively with Lars Eller. Did Habs management gave up on Sekac too quickly? There is no question the rookie still has a lot of potential, and perhaps wasn’t giving the chances he needed to shine.

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  • There were also whispers that Sekac had some run-ins with fellow Kladno native Tomas Plekanec, making it harder for him to fit on this team. This could be another reason for the trade. Recent comments by coach Michel Therrien about Sekac’s lack of offensive abilities probably did not help his cause in Montreal either.

    Here is a look at why this trade works out for both teams. The Anaheim Ducks are looking for a skilled fitness player, which Jiri Sekac brings to the table. Sekac could be able to fit that first line left wing role that Anaheim has been looking to fill all year, which started with Dany Heatley, then they turned to ex-hab Rene Bourque. Neither of these players can bring the skill, that Sekac can now bring. Even Smith-Pelly was given an audition on the left side of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. However he is better suited for the right side. Sekac could be a good complement for the role as the third forward on such a powerful line, with his speed and hands he can give the puck to Perry or Getzlaf. He is also young and has the potential to become a great player, but then again he could fall off the radar just Fabian Brunnstrom.

    Conversely, the Canadiens were looking to beef up their team with a bigger, more physical presence, someone who could also pitch in when needed. This is exactly what they hope to get from Smith-Pelly who has 147 hits so far this season.  He may only have 5 goals in 54 games this season, but his offensive production in the playoffs last year was impressive, he had 5 goals in 12 games. As previously mentioned, Devante Smith-Pelly is also only 22, so there is a lot of potential for him as well to reach.

    With both players in need of a restart, and each player filling a need for the other team, this trade looks like a win for both Marc Bergevin and Bob Murray.

    It’s really too early to judge the trade and both players still have a lot to show potentially. At first look, it seems like an evenly matched trade. Only time will tell how both these youngsters develop.

    The Habs new acquisition, Devante Smith-Pelly is expected to be in the lineup in Columbus, on Thursday night.