GLENDALE – With the NHL Draft in the past, Coyotes General Manager John Chayka quickly turned his attention to other business on Monday and signed goalie Louis Domingue to a two-year, one-way contract.
Domingue, 24, was set to become a restricted free agent on Friday.
“Louis earned that contract and we’re happy to give it to him,” Chayka said. “He had a very strong year. When Mike Smith went down (because of injury), he’s the guy that stepped up and showed a lot of maturity in games.”
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Domingue played 39 games for the Coyotes last season after being recalled from the American Hockey League in December. He posted a 15-18-5 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. In January, he became just the seventh rookie in franchise history to earn the NHL’s Rookie of the Month award when he registered a 6-3-2 record, a 2.20 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
“I’m beyond excited that the Coyotes showed such confidence about my game in signing me for two years on a one-way deal,” Domingue said. “It’s amazing.”
Domingue, a new father, is pleased to have his contract situation settled nearly three months before training camp. Last year, he did not sign a contract with the team until Sept. 5. The peace of mind this time around is a welcomed change, he said.
“Signing so early in the summer is such a different experience than I had last year,” Domingue said. “I'm very, very excited to be back.”
Chayka said the Coyotes were forced to "overuse" Domingue last season and they are hoping that is not the case in 2016-17.
"With Mike Smith back in the fold and healthy, it allows Louis to come in and continue to fight for games," Chayka said. "Last year was a big step for him and we want him to continue to take more and more steps and definitely not take a step back. It was our recognition and our belief that he’ll continue to take those steps and that’s why we gave him a two-way deal. Now it’s up to him.”
Domingue is looking forward to being the backup to Smith from the start of camp and beyond.
“When me and Mike Smith are together we bring the best out of each other,” Domingue said. “He's a great goalie. I'm glad to be learning from him.”
• Chayka said the Coyotes have tendered qualifying offers to the following players, all of whom are set to become restricted free agents on Friday: forwards Tobias Rieder, Tyler Gaudet and Stefan Fournier, and defensemen Connor Murphy and Michael Stone.
Meanwhile, qualifying offers were not tendered to defensemen Kevin Connauton, Klas Dahlbeck and Jarred Tinordi, but Chayka said contract talks with those three players would continue.
“I’m confident that we’ll come to terms on all those players,” Chayka said. “It’s just a matter of time and working through the process.”
• Chayka said negotiations continue with captain Shane Doan, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
“There’s just a lot of balls in the air with our entire team,” Chayka said. “... Once we get a little more clarity with where everything fits, then it makes it a lot easier to get Shane in the right spot at the right time. He’s been very patient with us and I appreciate that from him. He’s been phenomenal throughout the entire process... It’s all positive and we’ll continue to work toward something and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. That’s what I expect.”