Louis Domingue earns two year extension in Arizona
The Arizona Coyotes likely expected to see prospect goaltender Louis Domingue play the majority of his 2015-16 season in the AHL last year.
After almost heading out of the system altogether for the KHL, Domingue came back to the Coyotes on a one year extension with the club. The Coyotes had inked goaltender Anders Lindback as backup to Mike Smith; it would have taken a miracle for Domingue to get much of a look at the NHL level.
Now, just a year after he nearly went to Europe instead, he’s headed back for two more years in the desert. The Coyotes have signed him to a two-year extension worth a reported $2.1 million.
— ArizonaCoyotesNews (@AZCoyotesNews) June 27, 2016
In December of last season, Domingue’s slim chance of hitting the NHL ended up occurring when starter Mike Smith got hurt. Core muscle surgery for the veteran Smith left the Coyotes with a struggling Lindback and a called-up Domingue – who quickly won the starting job for the NHL club, recording two shutouts early on and keeping the Coyotes out of the bottom ten in the league for a big chunk of the season.
Team GM John Chayka referred to Domingue’s season as a ‘breakthrough season’, and that wasn’t wrong. He earned Rookie of the Month honors in January, recorded two shutouts, and went a perfectly respectable 15-18-5 in 39 games.
That earned him a two year extension with the Coyotes, during which he could see increased time as a tandem starter with Smith moving forward.
Coyotes goaltending coach Jon Elkin got a chance to work with Domingue on what had initially been one of the biggest weaknesses of his game, aiming for increased rebound control by adding more reactive saves to his repertoire. His game noticeably improved during the year, and he finished as one of the most solid young goaltenders in the league.
Moving forward, the Coyotes will need to see what kind of durability Domingue can put up. He managed to keep his cool behind a defensively weak Arizona roster, and his numbers in the AHL for the season prior to his call-up – which saw him put up a .908 save percentage in all situations over 20 AHL games – suggest he’s got potential to maintain good numbers when serving as tandem for Smith. There are still questions about whether he’ll be able to serve as an heir apparent to the older goaltender – who still has three years left on his current contract – but overall, this is a good move for a team on the upswing.