ANAHEIM, Calif. — Casey DeSmith has finally found an NHL home.
The Penguins signed their backup goaltender -- and before that, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's backup, and Wheeling's backup -- to a three-year contract extension, the team announced Friday just before taking the ice here at the Honda Center for their morning skate. The term runs through the 2021-22 season and has an average annual value of $1.25 million. DeSmith, 27, would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer.
"It's about determination," Jim Rutherford told me of DeSmith's rise. "You see a lot of guys who don't stick with it, and he's one of those who did. He overcame every hurdle, and he proved himself to us. We're very happy to see someone work his way up from Wheeling, then Wilkes-Barre and perform the way he did."
He apparently doesn't intend to change much. On the day the deal was announced, he stayed on the rink more than an hour extra to prepare for his presumed start Saturday night in Los Angeles.
"I'm really excited, so happy we were able to get something done and we were able to get some stability," DeSmith said upon finally coming off the ice. "It's been a long time coming for me. I've been all over the place in my career, so being able to sign an extension with the Penguins ... it's where I wanted to be. I love the guys. I love the staff. I love Pittsburgh."