Once Tristan Jarry got injured late in this past season, many figured that backup goalie Casey DeSmith would have a prime opportunity to earn some extra money on his next contract. The pending unrestricted free agent was the team’s starter in Game One of the first round against the New York Rangers, but his chance at showcasing his talents on a national stage was cut short. Like Jarry, DeSmith was also knocked out with an injury. Louis Domingue, third on the Penguins’ goalie depth chart, got that valuable opportunity instead. Even with that missed opportunity, DeSmith still enters free agency on solid ground. The Penguins, though, are reportedly hoping he doesn’t get there. According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Penguins are “trying to sign” DeSmith to a new deal, with the two sides working at reaching an agreement on an acceptable contract.
The motivations for the Penguins are clear and based in DeSmith’s performance. He has been a steady, reliable backup for three seasons now, and carries a career .916 save percentage in 97 NHL games. DeSmith went 11-6-5 in 2021-22, and had a 2.79 goals-against-average and .914 save percentage. DeSmith is an undrafted player who made his professional debut as an ECHL goalie after finishing his college career at the University of New Hampshire. DeSmith’s NHL resume is more consistently successful than Scott Wedgewood’s, who today signed a two-year deal worth $1MM AAV. With DeSmith already earning $1.25MM on his last deal, and with a more extensive track record of success at the NHL level, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him double Wedgewood’s number on his own next contract.
Now, for some other notes from across the league:
- We are rapidly approaching the NHL Draft, and rumors are swirling constantly. This is a rare year for NHL fans as there is some real mystery at the top of the draft. Who the Montreal Canadiens, the hosts of the draft, pick there is anyone’s guess. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman waded into the murky waters of next week’s draft, and projected all seven rounds as part of a full mock draft. (subscription link) Pronman writes that the “winds seem to be blowing” towards the Canadiens selecting Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky at the number-one slot, and as a result of that choice Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright slides all the way to the Seattle Kraken at the fourth pick. Pronman projects that the New Jersey Devils will take a big defenseman in David Jiricek, and that the Arizona Coyotes will stick with American center Logan Cooley, who they are often connected to. If Pronman’s extensive work is any indication, it will be an extremely exciting – even chaotic – draft night.
- The Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, announced today that they have signed forward Lynden McCallum to a one-year AHL contract. McCallum is a former Brandon Wheat King, playing for the WHL club from 2017-18 to 2020-21. GM Kelly McCrimmon has deep ties to the Wheat Kings, so it’s easy to see the connection between McCallum and the organization McCrimmon currently runs. McCallum was an impressive ECHL player in his first professional season, scoring 17 goals and 32 points in 36 games for the Fort Wayne Komets. His AHL run was far less productive, as he only managed five points in 20 games, although his ice time did decline from 17:39 per game in Fort Wayne to only 10:32 per game in Henderson. With this extension, the 22-year-old McCallum will get another chance to continue his run of success at the ECHL level with the hopes that his stay in the AHL can be more permanent this time around.