Louis Domingue, come on down. The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that Casey DeSmith will miss the rest of the playoffs following core muscle surgery this morning. With Tristan Jarry still out with his own injury, the Penguins crease belongs to Domingue for the time being.
It’s a brutal outcome for DeSmith, who had played brilliantly in his playoff debut before being removed partway through the second overtime period of game one. His season will end having stopped 48 of 51 shots to that point, and leave the Penguins desperately short on NHL-level goaltenders.
Jarry, who has yet to even return to the ice following his late-season injury, is the only other goaltender in the organization that even has NHL experience. Alex D’Orio, the current backup, has just 34 appearances above the ECHL level and posted an .894 save percentage for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season. Filip Lindberg, the other goaltender signed to an NHL deal, hasn’t played since November because of his own injury and has just seven professional appearances.
Incredibly, that leaves Domingue as the only option the team has despite playing in just two NHL games during the regular season. After his outstanding performance to close out game one, the New York Rangers managed to slip five past him last night to even the series. It now becomes a huge ask of a career backup to step into the spotlight and carry the team through the first round.
For DeSmith, it’s more than just missing the playoffs. As a pending unrestricted free agent, this was going to be an opportunity to showcase his skills as a potential starter–or at least a tandem starter–and secure a raise on the open market. He had played well during the regular season, posting a .914 save percentage in 26 appearances, and looked to have the net all to himself until Jarry returns down the road. Now he enters the open market with an uncertain future, coming off a surgery that often has lingering effects on performance even after being medically cleared to play.
The Penguins are back in action tomorrow night.