The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that backup goaltender Casey DeSmith has undergone bilateral core muscle surgery today. The procedure comes with a recovery period of six to eight weeks, meaning DeSmith should be ready for training camp next season.
The 29-year-old DeSmith played in 20 games for the Penguins this season, posting a strong .912 save percentage and two shutouts. Unfortunately, his injury made him unable to help Pittsburgh in their first-round match against the New York Islanders as Tristan Jarry struggled immensely. Even in the deciding sixth game, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was forced to stay with Jarry even after allowing five goals through the first two periods, the last three coming in quick succession and essentially ending any hope of a comeback.
In DeSmith, the Penguins have a reliable backup signed for just $1.25MM through 2021-22. If he can return from this injury at full strength and no other changes are made in the crease, it will be interesting to see if he gets even more opportunity next season. Core surgery is notorious for affecting a player’s performance for much longer than the original recovery period, so hopefully, DeSmith can get back up to speed by the time the regular season schedule begins.