Capitals recall Smith-Pelly from Hershey Bears, send Vanecek to AHL

Capitals coach Todd Reirden said plainly that T.J. Oshie will be out for “quite some time,” also making it clear he did not like the hit from Warren Foegele that injured his player. (NBC Sports Washington)

The Washington Capitals recalled forward Devante Smith-Pelly from the Hershey Bears, the team announced Friday morning. In a corresponding move, goalie Vitek Vanecek was reassigned to the AHL.

The transaction comes a day after T.J. Oshie went down with an upper-body injury that head coach Todd Reirden says will keep the forward out for “quite some time.” Oshie was shoved into the boards by forward Warren Foegele in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

The Caps have now lost two in a row and find themselves tied 2-2 in their opening-round series against the Hurricanes that heads back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

Smith-Pelly could potentially be a boon to the Caps lineup. After scoring a modest seven goals in 75 regular-season games in 2017-18, the 26-year-old finished fourth on the Caps in 2018 playoff goals with seven in 24 games behind only Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Oshie.

And Capitals fans haven’t forgotten Smith-Pelly’s clutch performance in the Stanley Cup-clinching game against the Vegas Golden Knights last June.

Despite that successful stretch in the 2018 post-season, Smith-Pelly struggled to produce in 2018-19 and only managed four goals and four assists in 54 NHL appearances. He had 14 points in 20 games with the Bears this season.

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