The Pittsburgh Penguins have dished a new three-year contract to backup goaltender Casey DeSmith. The new deal is worth $1.25 million per year and runs through the 2021-22 season, according to Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford.
“Since joining the Penguins organization, Casey has excelled for us at every level,” said Rutherford. “We’re pleased to have him signed with our organization for the next three-and-a-half seasons.”
DeSmith, 27, was an undrafted college free agent who played three-plus years at the University of New Hampshire. In 2015-16 which was his first professional season, he played 13 games for the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL, and six games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. DeSmith made his NHL debut last season after Matt Murray was injured and the Penguins waived ineffective backup Antti Niemi.
The affable DeSmith shared the backup role with Tristan Jarry but DeSmith outperformed all Penguins goalies with a .921 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average.
DeSmith. 6-foot-0 and 181 pounds, has challenged for more playing time. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan placed him in an official head-to-head competition with starting goalie Matt Murray after Murray returned from injury in December. DeSmith has started 26 of the Penguins 43 games with a 12-7-4 record and a remarkable .924 save percentage.
Penguins starting goalie Matt Murray has won his last eight starts to end the goalie competition. DeSmith will likely start tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins have back-to-back games beginning tonight in Anaheim and have won nine of their last 10 games.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will have postgame coverage of the Penguins in Los Angeles after the game and PHN Extra Report Card in the morning.