According to Matt Sammon of Lightning Radio, the Tampa Bay Lightning are signing restricted free agent goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year contract. Sammon also reports that the salary cap hit will be $1.15 million.
Just in: Louis Domingue has a new 2-year contract with the Lightning.— Matt Sammon (@SammonSez) June 22, 2018
Official announcement coming soon, but expect an AAV of $1.15 million.— Matt Sammon (@SammonSez) June 22, 2018
The Lightning acquired Domingue from the Arizona Coyotes in November for minor leaguers Tye McGinn and Michael Leighton. Domingue had been waived by the Coyotes after a rather rough start to the year that saw him go winless in seven appearances with an .856 save percentage.
After being acquired by the Lightning, he was sent to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. He helped to stabilize the Crunch in net after Leighton had struggled to open the season in a tandem with prospect goaltender Connor Ingram. In Syracuse, he put up a .919 SV% in 18 games.
When Peter Budaj was injured late in December, Domingue was called up to take his place as the backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy. In 12 games over the rest of the year, he played well and finished with a .914 SV% in a Lightning sweater and went 7-3-1. He also appeared in one playoff game in relief of Vasilevskiy where he stopped all seven shots he faced.
The writing was on the wall for the 26-year-old native of Quebec to be the team’s back-up going forward when he retained that position following Budaj’s return from injury. That was further cemented with Budaj being traded to the Los Angeles Kings earlier this month.
Domingue makes an ideal back-up for Vasilevskiy as a player that has 96 games of NHL experience. While his career has been somewhat up-and-down, that has to be put into the context of being on a sub-par Coyotes team for his first two full years in the NHL. He’s also still fairly young and has enjoyed good health. He’s a more than capable back-up and will be an essential part in providing rest for Vasilevskiy without being a liability in net. He’s also capable of playing more games than he or Budaj played last year in a backup role and give Vasilevskiy more rest leading up to the playoffs.
With signing a two-year deal, general manager Steve Yzerman has solidified the backup position in net. Connor Ingram is progressing nicely in the AHL, but is still a couple years away from being ready to be a backup in the NHL. Yzerman has also secured one year of unrestricted free agency from Domingue, as he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.