Casey DeSmith might have to keep proving he can handle the cage for the Pittsburgh Penguins, he has improved tremendously and has been able to keep his team in contention after some tough weeks and during the absence of starting goalie Matt Murray.
While the netminder might be nearing a return, it does not mean he will necessarily be back in a Penguins' uniform. According to NHL insider Bob McKenzie of TSN, some teams may have called general manager Jim Rutherford about the injured goalie. McKenzie doesn’t think moving Murray is something the Penguins would move into lightly, however, it remains an option on the table.
“And keep in mind that the here and now is everything for Pittsburgh. There’s no future consideration deals going on for Jimmy Rutherford. His idea of future considerations is what’s going to help me next week. Because as long as Malkin and Crosby are where they are in their biological clock ticking, there’s a huge sense of urgency on the part of Rutherford and the Penguins to make this year count for everything. So that might make it more difficult to do a Matt Murray deal, but not out of the question.
“I think in a perfect world what the Pittsburgh Penguins would like is for Matt Murray to come back healthy from his injury and play at the top of his game, and not have any issues in goal whatsoever.”
On Tuesday, Murray rejoined the team for a full practice, a great sign that he is nearing a return, though he wasn't sure he could play on Wednesday night.
“I’m still undecided. I have to talk to the doctors. (But) It feels good. You kind of take it for granted how much fun it is out there with the whole team, rather than by yourself.”
Head coach Mike Sullivan obviously would like to see Murray back in between the pipes, with the talent and abilities he sported back when the team won back to back championships in 2016 and 2017.
“We would like to get him involved as soon as we can. We are playing a lot of games. We are encouraged that he is as close as he is. We’ll take each day as it comes.”
Murray has this season and next remaining on his three-year, $11.25 million contract. He has yet to play 50 games in any regular season and he won’t hit that mark this year. His ailments during his four-year career: two concussions, a broken hand, a head injury, an upper-body injury and now he’s sidelined with a lower-body injury...
Rutherford could be patient with this one, however, if teams are calling about him, one could make an offer the Pens GM simply cannot refuse...