For a forward, who wouldn't want to be coached by Wayne Gretzky
? If you're a defenseman, how could you pass on suiting up for Bobby Orr
And if you're a goaltender, how could you pass on a chance to play for Patrick Roy
For Louis Domingue
, that's the opportunity he has now, following a midseason trade to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
"With Patrick Roy
, there's nothing better than learning from the best," Domingue told NHL.com.
Roy, a four-time Stanley Cup champion who ranks as the second-winningest goaltender in NHL history, certainly knows what a good goaltender looks like, and he knows he has one in Domingue.
"I like his size (6-foot-2 1/2, 185 pounds), I like the way he challenges the shooters," Roy told NHL.com. "I like that he wants to learn. He's very receptive. I like his work ethic."
In 17 games with the Remparts, he's 7-8-0 with a 2.74 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. For the season, which includes 22 games with the Moncton Wildcats, he's 18-17-0 with a 2.78 GAA and .903 save percentage. He's the No. 4 goalie on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American goaltenders, and second among QMJHL goalies. He also was one of 40 prospects selected for January's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game; he made eight saves on 11 shots in playing about half the game against some of the best players in his draft class.
He also has international experience, as he went 2-0 this summer at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka
Tournament for Canada. He shut out the Czech Republic in his first game, then stopped 20 of 22 shots in a 9-2 win against Russia in the gold-medal game.
"He's got great size, really good laterally, nice hands, got a good demeanor about him," a scout from an Eastern Conference team told NHL.com. "He started the year really well, then struggled a little bit right before Christmas, but I think with this new change of scenery you're going to see him get back to form. He's got a lot of things we like to see."
Domingue's numbers with Quebec aren't much different than they were with Moncton, but his confidence level certainly has risen as he's adjusted to his new coach.
"On the bus after every game I sit beside (Roy) and we're there on the laptop working on some things I have to improve," said Domingue. He said the advice Roy gives him isn't much different than what he's heard from other coaches, but in this case, it's more the messenger than the message. "He's telling me stuff that people told me before, but he's telling me things, and he was the best doing it, so it's got to be good."
Roy likes that Domingue is coachable, but also that he's more than a human bobblehead when they talk, just agreeing with everything he says because he's Patrick Roy
"He likes to exchange and bring his opinion and exchange opinions on certain situations," said Roy. "He wants to know why. He wants to know why we're doing this and he's asking questions. And I love people who ask questions."
The only thing Roy has been questioning with Domingue is his ability to read plays as they happen. The Hall-of-Fame netminder said that when Domingue fully grasps that concept, he'll be ready for the NHL.
"There is one thing I want to work on with him, and it's having him be able to see the five guys on the ice and know where the five guys on the ice are, not just focus on the puck," said Roy. "I want to make sure he knows where the scoring areas are and where the guys are."
While it may sound easy, it's something Roy admits took him time to learn.
"When I started in Montreal with (goalie coach) Francois Allaire, one of the first things he told me was you have to know where the guys are on the ice," said Roy. "It really served me well. It's important to be able to read the play well. It takes time, but it's something that I was very open to. I thought it was great, I thought it would make me a better goaltender and a player and I'd have a better understanding of the game."
Now he's passing that information on to Domingue.
"I think he does understand what we're talking about here," said Roy. "He's very open to give it a try. It's going to take time, but as long as he's very open-minded regarding that, I think it's a start."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com.