Penguins sign goalie Casey DeSmith to 3-year extension
While Matt Murray was sidelined for a month with a lower-body injury earlier this season, Casey DeSmith stepped up and prevented the Pittsburgh Penguins from falling into the abyss.
On Friday, he was rewarded for his efforts.
DeSmith signed a three-year extension with an average annual salary of $1.25 million, the team announced. Without the deal, DeSmith would have been an unrestricted free agent in July.
“I’m so happy that we were able to get something done,” DeSmith said. “Having some stability, it’s been a long time coming for me. I’ve been all over the place in my career. Being able to sign an extension with the Penguins, it’s where I want to be. I love the guys. I love the staff. I love Pittsburgh. It’s definitely where I wanted to end up.”
DeSmith has performed exceptionally well in the first half of the season, going 12-7-4 with a .924 save percentage that ranks fourth in the league among goalies who have made at least 15 starts.
For the Penguins, signing DeSmith gives the team a low-cost goaltending option to pair with Murray, who has one year left on a contract that pays him $3.75 million annually.
“He’s deserving,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’re thrilled for him. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s come up the hard way. He’s earned every opportunity that he’s been given. He’s had a real solid body of work in this season in particular.”
For DeSmith, the deal represents a significant milepost in his journey through pro hockey. Undrafted and checking in at 6-foot on his tip-toes, DeSmith joined the Penguins organization on an ECHL deal in 2015.
“Definitely have to wake up every day and pinch myself,” DeSmith said. “It’s a privilege to come to the rink every day and get dressed next to these guys.”
For prospect Tristan Jarry, who is third on the goalie depth chart, the deal could mean his days in the organization are numbered. After this season, Jarry will have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at email@example.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.