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Penguins Re-Sign Casey DeSmith for two years

The Pens are going to be bringing back the same goalie combo for next season

NHL: MAY 03 Playoffs Round 1 Game 1 - Penguins at Rangers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Penguins announced a contract extension today, but it wasn’t the one many were expecting. It’s goalie Casey DeSmith who has come to terms with Pittsburgh on a two-year contract that will keep him through the 2023-24 season.

From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with goaltender Casey DeSmith on a two-year contract, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

The contract runs through the 2023-24 season and carries an average annual value of $1.8 million.

DeSmith, 30, played in 26 games for Pittsburgh in 2021-22, going 11-6-5 with a 2.79 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and three shutouts. His three shutouts tied his single-season career high, originally established in 2018-19, while his save percentage was his highest since ‘18-19.

DeSmith’s best outing of the season came on April 21 when he recorded 52 saves in his third shutout of the season against Boston. His 52 saves were the most in a shutout by a goaltender in Penguins history, while only four goaltenders in NHL history have made more saves in a shutout than DeSmith’s 52.

The 6-foot, 181-pound goaltender made his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 of the Penguins’ First Round series against the New York Rangers before leaving the game with an injury. In Game 1, he became the sixth NHL goaltender to make 48-plus saves in his playoff debut, joining Roberto Luongo (72), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (63), Jose Theodore (56), Jiri Crha (55) and Marc Behrend (49).

The Rochester, New Hampshire native has suited up for 96 games in his NHL career, going 43-28-11 with a 2.67 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and nine shutouts. His nine shutouts are the sixth-most in Penguins history. DeSmith set career highs in 2018-19 with 36 games played, 15 wins and three shutouts, while his best goals-against average (2.40) and save percentage (.921) came in 2017-18 when he led Pittsburgh in both categories.

The biggest question about DeSmith has become his durability and health, he has required core muscle surgeries in May 2022 and May 2021 towards the end of the hockey season. 2021-22 was a rough ride that started off poorly, but DeSmith was handling the starting jon just fine when Tristan Jarry got hurt, right up until the point where DeSmith got injured himself.

DeSmith will earn $1.8 million against the cap, a raise from his prior $1.25 million cap hit but still a lot under the goalie market for what he has shown as a solid backup netminder. There are no quotes out from the player yet, but staying with the Pens must have been a clear priority for him just one week away from free agency where he almost surely would have been in position to command a higher salary to switch teams.

But that wasn’t in the cards for him or the Pens, who will keep the continuity and steadiness of having Jarry and DeSmith back under contract yet again for next season.