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The Persistent Path of Penguins Backup Casey DeSmith

Rochester, New Hampshire native Casey DeSmith will provide backup support for Tristan Jarry in Pittsburgh next season.

Casey DeSmith Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltender
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Matt Murray’s departure from the Pittsburgh Penguins was inevitable but also created some unknowns. The biggest of which might be what the Penguins can expect from likely back up netminder Casey DeSmith. The 29-year-old will be playing behind a 25-year-old first time NHL starter in Tristan Jarry. While Jarry has earned the starting role, his 62 career games are not the largest sample size. Thus, DeSmith might have some heavy lifting to do during the 2020-21 NHL season.

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Given the importance of a tandem in what looks like a shortened 2020-21 season, what can Pittsburgh expect from DeSmith? To start, he has only played 12 less NHL games than Jarry. In those 50 games his numbers have been solid with a 2.66 GAA and .917 (SV%). However, it’s worth noting, DeSmith did not play a single game in Pittsburgh last season.

The Long Road

DeSmith took a winding road and broke a few of the traditional molds along the way. He only stands 6 feet which is now considered small in the professional game. The Rochester (NH) native was also never drafted. Further, he signed an ECHL contract coming out of the University of New Hampshire.

During his first ECHL season with the Wheeling Nailers he played well enough to get promoted to Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes/Barre – Scranton (WBS) in 2015-16. DeSmith spent one more full season with WBS before he got his opportunity with the Penguins in 2017-18.

He took full advantage of every opportunity with the big club. In fact, Penguin insiders might argue DeSmith stole the backup role from Jarry at one point in 2017-18. Last season with WBS he posted a 2.92 GAA along with a .907 (SV%) in 41 games. The 41 games were also a career high – professional or otherwise.

DeSmith Should Be Ready For the Challenge

If anything, DeSmith’s historical numbers are both solid and consistent. It is also evident that he has been resilient and overcome a few different challenges to get to this point in his career. Further, he seems to rise to every occasion when given the opportunity.

The spotlight will shine a bit brighter upon Jarry during his first season as an NHL starting goaltender. To handle the glare he is going to need some help from DeSmith. Given his persistency to date, he seems like a pretty good candidate.

NEXT: Prediction: 2021 NHL Regular Season Will be a 42-Games Schedule

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