The Penguins’ consistent and reliable backup goaltender, is officially staying in the Steel City for the next few years, as general manager Jim Rutherford announced Friday they’ve signed Casey DeSmith to a three-year, $1.25 annual contract extension. The deal will begin with the upcoming 2019-20 season.
The 27-year-old NHL sophomore is currently sporting fantastic numbers through the 2018-19 season, with a .924 average save percentage in 26 starts, a 2.47 GAA, a 11.74 goals saved above average line, and a 12-7-4 record. His career statistics have also been stellar. In 40 games played, DeSmith’s boasts a 33-18-11 record, a .923 save percentage, and a 2.45 GAA.
DeSmith has often been called upon to be “the guy” in net while Matt Murray struggled through injuries and personal afflictions. In those moments, head coach Mike Sullivan and the rest of the team always showed trust that he’d get the job done most often than not — and they were right to do so.
Undersized at just 5-foot-8 in juniors, the second year goalie was overlooked when it came to Draft time, and because of that, was forced to learn how to play big and to his strengths. Without the Penguins bringing in goaltender coach Mike Buckley, DeSmith may not have even ended up in Pittsburgh at all. Now listed at a generous 6 feet, 181 pounds, DeSmith hasn’t allowed his size to become his detriment and has proven he’s deserving of a place on this Penguins’ roster, adding reliable depth to a seemingly volatile position for this team.
“He’s been waiting for his chance,” Rutherford said. “He deserves all the credit.”
Initially only going $675,000 AAV against the cap, an increase to $1.25 million is both extremely fair for DeSmith and also another contract that doesn't handcuff the team. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so this once again avoids any offseason financial headaches.
The only negative able to be drawn from this extension is the status of Tristan Jarry, who was projected to have a higher ceiling and better skill than DeSmith coming in, but is still down in the AHL between the pipes for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.