DeSmith Pearson trade

Casey DeSmith was traded to the Vancouver Canucks by the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday for Tanner Pearson and a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

DeSmith, who has one season remaining on a two-year, $3.6 million contract ($1.8 million average annual value) he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 5, 2022, was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in an NHL career-high 38 games (33 starts) last season. The 32-year-old was traded to the Canadiens by the Penguins in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks to Pittsburgh on Aug. 6.

Signed by the Penguins as an undrafted free agent on July 1, 2017, DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA, .912 save percentage and nine shutouts in 134 regular-season games (115 starts). He has played one Stanley Cup Playoff game (three goals on 51 shots).

Pearson hasn’t played since Nov. 9, when he injured his hand while blocking a shot. The 31-year-old forward, who had five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games last season, originally was expected to be out 4-6 weeks, but the injury required multiple surgeries and prompted an internal review of his care by the Canucks.

"I can tell you that he’s already passed his physical testing in Vancouver," Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said Wednesday. "He’s skating. I think the strength in his injured hand is almost 80 percent. Is it 100 percent? No, but we expect that he’s going to be available to play and take part in camp. I think he’s arriving today so he’ll be on the ice tomorrow."

Pearson said on the first day of Montreal training camp Thursday that his health will not be an issue.

“I’m feeling good," he said. I’m ready to rock and looking forward to start. I’ll be good to go.”

Pearson is entering the final season of a three-year, $9.75 million contract ($3.25 million AAV) he signed with Vancouver on April 8, 2021.

Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round (No. 30) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Pearson has 272 points (133 goals, 139 assists) in 590 regular-season games with the Kings, Penguins and Canucks. He also has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 51 playoff games, including helping Los Angeles win the Stanley Cup in 2014.

Hughes said the Canadiens value Pearson for his experience.

"We need a bit of gray hair too to pass along those experiences to our younger players and I think Tanner can bring that to the team," he said. "I don’t know if his physical return will be a straight path or if there will be obstacles along the way, but we believe that he is healthy right now."

Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said Wednesday the trade would provide Pearson a fresh start, and create more opportunity for Vancouver's younger forwards.

"I couldn't guarantee [Pearson] ice time and a roster spot and we felt this was a hockey deal where we improve our depth in net on the back end getting an established goalie in Casey DeSmith,” Allvin said, “But the improvement of our younger wingers made us excited and we felt that this was a move that freed up some (salary) cap flexibility as well.”

For his part, Pearson said he's welcoming a new start with Montreal.

“I’ve gone through it before (been traded) so it’s actually nice," he said. "It’s right before camp so I’ve kind of still got the camp with the guys and work into the systems that we want to play.

“Obviously mixed emotions, really close with the guys in Vancouver, but excited for the opportunity. I think a breath of fresh air was kind of needed, so definitely excited to be here.” independent correspondents Sean Farrell and Kevin Woodley contributed to this report

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