Courtesy of Point Park University

The 2019-20 prospectus: Casey DeSmith


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Casey DeSmith -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

This is the fifth installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.


Age: 27 (will be 28 on Aug. 13)
Size: 6 feet, 181 pounds
Position: Goalie
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, 2017
Salary-cap hit: $1.25 million, through 2021-22
2018-19 NHL stats: 15-11-5, 2.75 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 36 games.

How he fits: He'll be Matt Murray's backup, unless management reverses course and gives that job to Tristan Jarry.

Shortcomings: DeSmith has appeared in as many as 41 games just once during the past 10 seasons, dating to his days in the USHL, so there's no firm evidence that he could be effective as the Penguins' go-to goalie for an extended period if Murray were to have a major injury.

Strengths: Perhaps because he has developed the right mindset for a backup and unflinchingly embraces his role, DeSmith is able to perform well when called upon, even after spending long stretches at the end of the bench.

Hidden variable: While DeSmith has, in general, played pretty well during his stints in the NHL over the past two seasons, his personal stats to date suggest that Mike Sullivan might want to consider using him primarily at PPG Paints Arena. DeSmith is 15-6-2 at home, 6-9-4 on the road.

2019-20 expectations: DeSmith's workload figures to be determined, in large part, by whether Murray can avoid injuries. If Murray stays healthy, DeSmith probably can expect to make around 25 starts, with many coming when the Penguins play on consecutive days.

The big questions: Will DeSmith retain the No. 2 job, as seemed certain when he signed a new contract last season, or will he have to compete for it with Jarry during training camp? And if those two do battle to be Murray's backup, will the Penguins trade the loser or try to sneak him through waivers to their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton farm team?

All profiles to date can be found here.


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