Casey DeSmith

Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL.com

Fantasy Summary

DeSmith’s career path brightened to begin the 2018-19 season and his stalwart play was rewarded with a three-year extension. He’s looking more like a solid NHL backup.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 4.5
NHL Certainty 8
Country USA
Position G
Roster Type NHL
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth August 13, 1991
Height 6‘0”
Weight 181 lbs
Drafted No

Observations

March 2019 – The late-bloomer continues to earn the three-year contract extension that kicks in next season. The skidding Sabres (three consecutive scoreless outings) are not formidable, but DeSmith’s 26-save 5-0 shutout nonetheless gave Matt Murray a breather and kept the Penguins in the thick of the fierce battle for playoff berths. After 35 appearances, 27-year-old DeSmith has a 15-11-5 record with 2.77 goals-against average and .916 save percentage as well as three shutouts. He looks like Pittsburgh’s backup for the near future. Mark Allan

January 2019 – With No. 1 netminder Matt Murray hurt and ineffective and prospect Tristan Jarry unworthy in two starts, an argument could be made that DeSmith’s yeoman efforts made him Pittsburgh’s pre-Christmas MVP. His 12-8-4 record includes an 8-3-1 stretch from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31 when the team desperately needed stability. DeSmith, a UFA at season’s end, was instead rewarded with a three-year extension worth an AAV of $1.25 million. The unexpected development for a 27-year-old, one-time free agent signee happened because he’s earned the backup job with an 18-11-5 career NHL record based on a 2.45 GAA and .923 save percentage and three shutouts. Mark Allan

December 2018 – The 27-year-old journeyman continues to outplay supposed No. 1 puck-stopper Matt Murray, highlighted by a 48-save performance in a recent 5-3 victory over Boston. Playing for a contract, the impending UFA carries a 19-10-6-4 record with eye-opening 2.49 and .923 peripherals, compared to Murray’s .500 mark based on unsightly 3.95 and .883 numbers. You could make a case that DeSmith has been Pittsburgh’s MVP in the early part of the schedule. Mark Allan

December 2018 – Pittsburgh would be doing even worse than hovering around .500 were it not for the 27-year-old puck-stopper. Thrust into the starter’s role after more injury-related absences by the increasingly unreliable Matt Murray, DeSmith had an 11-6-3 record at the quarter pole of the NHL season, backed by solid 2.41 (12th in the league) and .924 (tied for 11th) peripherals. If he keeps this up, the pending UFA will make it hard for GM Jim Rutherford to let him go in the off-season. Mark Allan

October 2018 – DeSmith has at least temporarily won Pittsburgh’s backup netminder job and apparently the edge to replace the increasingly injury-prone Matt Murray. The Penguins’ No. 1 netminder missed just one game with the third concussion of his young NHL career, but it was the second in eight months. DeSmith was brilliant in a 35-save 4-2 win over Las Vegas but neither he nor Tristan Jarry have seized the starter’s job outright during Murray’s previous absences, and the organization must hold its collective breath every time Murray goes down. Mark Allan

September 2018 – The veteran (27-year-old) prospect is off to a good start in his bid to back up Matt Murray. Without DeSmith, there’s no way the youngster-heavy Penguins would have been close in a preseason 3-2 loss to Buffalo. He went the distance in Pittsburgh’s opening exhibition game and made many difficult saves among the 29 shots he faced. No matter how well DeSmith plays, though, even if he wins the backup job to start the campaign, he would just be holding it for Tristan Jarry. Mark Allan

May 2018 – Thanks to injuries to starter Matt Murray and Pittsburgh’s wish to let Tristan Jarry develop more in the AHL, DeSmith got into the first 14 NHL games of his career. The 26-year-old actually had better peripherals (2.40, .921) in the NHL than in his 27 AHL appearances (2.73, .910). He’s got one season to go on his contract, which he will spend in the AHL if Jarry is deemed ready for regular NHL backup duty. Mark Allan

March 2018 – Although it’s unclear what his long-term NHL future holds, the 26-year-old is in the big time for the foreseeable future with top backstop, Matt Murray out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in practice. Although his 2017-18 Pittsburgh record is a pedestrian 3-3, the smallish yet determined DeSmith has impressive peripherals of 2.24 and .926 that put his numbers in 27 AHL outings to shame. He made 35 saves in a 3-2 loss to New Jersey as the Penguins began their latest stint without Murray. Mark Allan

January 2018 – Although his NHL debut was frustrating, the 26-year-old earned his way into the AHL all-star game. After a strong rookie campaign, DeSmith went 9-0-1 record to start 2017-18. He tops AHL Atlantic Division netminders with a .911 save percentage and is second with a 2.72 GAA. His future as an NHLer with Pittsburgh is murky, however, with Matt Murray, Tristan Jarry and Filip Gustavsson also in the organization. Mark Allan

November 2017 – DeSmith was recalled from the minors to back up Tristan Jarry after Matt Murray’s right leg was injured Nov. 27, sidelining him for an anticipated two to four weeks. DeSmith, a 26-year-old NHL rookie, was returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after allowing a goal on the first NHL shot he faced and looking overwhelmed while relieving beleaguered starter Matt Murray on Oct. 29 in a 7-1 drubbing by the high-flying Jets. The challenge for DeSmith will be to translate excellent AHL career stats (32-9-4, 2.08, .926 and two shutouts in 47 games) into NHL success, or at least competence. Mark Allan

October 2017 – Undrafted by any NHL team, and a runt by today’s mammoth goaltending physiques, DeSmith has made the most of his opportunities since joining Pittsburgh’s ECHL affiliate as a free agent in the second half of the 2015-2016 campaign. Before that, he posted save percentages of .926, .924 and .920 for the U of New Hampshire Wildcats. DeSmith was arrested in September 2014 for assaulting his girlfriend and resisting arrest. The charges were dismissed, although the NCAA denied him a transfer waiver to play his senior season of college hockey, and the New Hampshire native signed with Wheeling of the ECHL. DeSmith parlayed 13 games with the Nailers into a promotion to the AHL, where he posted GAAs of 1.94 and 2.01 in 35 games over two campaigns.  His 2.01 GAA in 29 games led the league, he made the AHL’s All-Rookie team and he shared the Harry Holmes Memorial Award with Tristan Jarry as the league’s top netminding duo. DeSmith earned his first NHL contract (two-year, two-way) July 1. After recording eye-opening numbers of 0.98 and .965 to open 2017-18 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he was promoted to replace the unworthy Antti Niemi as Matt Murray’s NHL backup.

Humble and well-liked by teammates, DeSmith is competitive and consistent between the pipes. Jarry, a former Memorial Cup champion No. 1 puck-stopper and a second-round draft pick by Pittsburgh, has more upside – and the inside track as Murray’s future backup. DeSmith, however, will apparently get some chances to prove himself because the Penguins have the most back-to-back games in the NHL this season. Mark Allan


Stats

 Season Team League GP GAA SVS%      Playoffs GP GAA SVS%
 2006-2007 Berwick Academy USHS-Prep - 3.15 .901 |        
 2007-2008 Berwick Academy USHS-Prep - 2.76 .910 |        
 2008-2009 Deerfield Academy USHS-Prep - 2.72 .918 |        
 2009-2010 Indiana Ice USHL 27 3.18 .897 | Playoffs 8 2.48 .922
 2010-2011 Indiana Ice USHL 37 2.54 .920 | Playoffs 4 2.63 .929
  USA U19 WJAC-19 1 0.00 1.000 |        
 2011-2012 Univ. of New Hampshire NCAA 22 2.33 .926 |        
 2012-2013 Univ. of New Hampshire NCAA 38 2.23 .924 |        
 2013-2014 Univ. of New Hampshire NCAA 37 2.40 .920 |        
 2014-2015 Univ. of New Hampshire NCAA 0 - - |        
 2015-2016 Wheeling Nailers ECHL 13 2.55 .915 |        
  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 6 1.94 .925 | Playoffs 9 2.44 .919
 2016-2017 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 29 2.01 .926 | Playoffs 5 2.78 .916
 2017-2018 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 2.40 .921 |        
  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 27 2.73 .910 |        
 2018-2019 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 36 2.75 .916 |        

Highlights