The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with backup goaltender Casey DeSmith on a new two-year extension, keeping him from hitting the open market. The contract will carry an average annual value of $1.8MM.
DeSmith, 30, has only ever known the Penguins organization and is one of the biggest success stories of the ECHL. Originally signed to a contract by the Wheeling Nailers as an undrafted free agent in 2015, he managed to quickly climb through every level and eventually made his NHL debut in the 2017-18 season. Since then, he’s been quite reliable for Pittsburgh, posting a .916 save percentage over 97 appearances at the highest level.
While he likely won’t be challenging for the starting role anytime soon, DeSmith represents a strong backup for Tristan Jarry and the Penguins, and essentially takes them out of the running for any other free agent goaltenders–at least the ones set to compete for NHL jobs. At just $1.8MM, he also comes in at a very reasonable price, potentially freeing up some space for the team to re-sign more important free agents, including Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
Among goaltenders, DeSmith’s cap hit puts him 40th for the 2022-23 season, a ranking that will drop several more places once free agency opens later this month. Given the fact that Jarry carries just a $3.5MM hit, the Penguins will be getting pretty strong goaltending for a relatively low price.