LAS VEGAS — The Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors and free agency whispers are true. The team is indeed looking for an experienced backup goalie to fortify the net should Tristan Jarry struggle in the regular season, or especially the postseason, as he did last month in the Penguins Round One loss to the New York Islanders.
A well-placed source in the Penguins organization confirmed the Penguins trade or free agency plans to PHN on Monday in response to recent public chatter and media speculation about the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft.
Tristan Jarry will be protected in the coming expansion draft. So, too, will Evgeni Malkin.
“There’s only place Evgeni might consider waiving his no-movement clause for,” the source said, indicating Seattle was a no-go and was not under consideration.
PHN has reported multiple times that “one” place is Florida, where Malkin lives, and his family seems to enjoy it. Though GM Ron Hextall also quelled any Malkin-Penguins trade rumors last week by including Malkin in the Penguins’ plans and staying in win-now mode. dd
Malkin has a full no-movement clause. So, it would require his permission to expose him to Seattle. In other words, don’t expect any crazy moves on that front.
Penguins backup goalie Casey DeSmith is currently the goalie the team expects to expose.
DeSmith appears to be a victim of circumstance, again. After signing a three-year NHL deal following the 2018-19 season, he was demoted to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, in part, because he made a few hundred thousand bucks more than Tristan Jarry.
Jarry not only claimed the backup spot but pushed past starter Matt Murray, too.
Despite DeSmith showing himself to be a capable puck stopper and solid NHL backup. He was not available in the playoffs due to a soft-tissue LBI.
The Penguins are looking for a veteran goalie with playoff experience. And the name you first think is the name they’re thinking, too: Frederick Andersen.
A team source specifically mentioned his name as someone the Penguins are looking at as a veteran goalie who has performed well in the NHL postseason. Andersen struggled this season, as did several North Division goalies behind absentee blue liners.
Andersen will turn 32-years-old in October. The 6-foot-4 goalie played in 24 games this season with an unsexy 2.95 GAA, and an anemic .895 save percentage. His goals saved above average (GSAx), according to Puck Pedia, was well below average at -7.31.
However, Andersen has been very good in the playoffs. In the Toronto “bubble” Qualifying Round against Columbus, Andersen posted a .936 save percentage, though lost in the pivotal Game 5.
In Toronto’s heartbreaking seven-game Round One loss to the fearsome Boston Bruins in 2018-19, Andersen posted a .922 save percentage and was a big reason Toronto pushed the series to seven games.
However, after a pair of opening-round losses, Andersen took some of the blame in Toronto and this season lost his net to Jack Campbell, who promptly played well but helped Toronto to another seven-game opening-round loss.
Andersen also backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to the 2015 Western Conference Final, but the three-time Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks squeaked past in Game 7 and won their third Cup.
Andersen’s five-year $25 million contract expires this summer, and he will be a UFA.
Circle Andersen’s name as someone the Pittsburgh Penguins are already watching. The team could make a solid pitch pending the goalie market, which was a heavy buyer’s market last fall and figures to be again with the flat salary cap.