Welcome to Stats ‘N’ At, a weekly feature that takes a deep dive into the numbers that define our city's sports scene.
It takes an avalanche of awful circumstances for a team with the Penguins' high-end talent to be out of a playoff spot in December, including costly injuries, a lack of development (or outright regression) by key young players, and the bottom falling out of the team's bottom-six scoring.
But perhaps the most confounding aspect of this confounding club is the goaltending.
With Matt Murray ineffective and now injured, Casey DeSmith has assumed a larger role than anyone could have imagined entering the 2018-19 season. At times, DeSmith makes 10-bell saves that bail out his teammates -- the kind of saves that make you think that he could be an NHL starter, and earn himself a nice pay day this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. At other times, though, he coughs up soft goals that could earn a benching in the ECHL, much less the NHL.