Person of Interest: The 411 on Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue

Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue joins HC @ Noon to discuss his journey to the NHL, his great run, and the overall amazing vibe coming out of Arizona.

Last year there was Andrew Hammond, who came out of nowhere to help lead the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs. This season it’s Arizona Coyotes rookie Louis Domingue making waves.

In 10 starts this season the Canadian has gone 7-0-3 to help vault the Coyotes to second place in the Pacific Division. His .928 save percentage leads all rookie goalies with at least five appearances, and his 2.21 goals-against average ranks him third behind John Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck.

Here’s the 411 on one of the hottest young goalies in the game.

Age: 23
Catches: Right
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 210 pounds
Hometown: St-Hyacinthe, Que.
Drafted: Selected in the fifth round (138th overall) by Coyotes in 2010
Contract status: Two-way deal. $605,000 cap hit. Becomes RFA at end of season.

He really, really doesn’t like Patrick Roy

After two years with the Moncton Wildcats, Domingue played three seasons under Roy with the Quebec Remparts. That must’ve been a great experience for a young goaltender from Quebec, right?

Not so fast. Domingue led the QMJHL in save percentage (.914) in 2011-12, but the way that season concluded left a bad taste in his mouth. The Remparts gave up a three-game lead and lost to the Halifax Mooseheads in Game 7 of a second-round series. In 2014, when asked about that loss to Halifax, Roy blamed it on “bad goaltending.”

When Domingue heard about this, he went on a Twitter rant about his former coach. Domingue tweeted that “Patrick Roy verbally intimidated me day after day” and described the Hall of Fame goalie and current Colorado Avalanche coach as “by far one of the worst people I’ve ever met.”

The Coyotes recently beat the Avalanche on Dec. 27, however Domingue didn’t get the start that night. The next time those teams meet is March 7. If Domingue gets the call in that one, we could see some fireworks.

He’s been a pleasant surprise to Coyotes GM Don Maloney

Mike Smith is getting up there in age and currently on injured reserve while Anders Lindback is a pending unrestricted free agent, so Domingue’s strong play is a major boost for the long-term confidence of Coyotes management.

Maloney told NHL.com that Domingue was “hands down, no question” the biggest surprise of the first half of the season for his team.

“You could see that he was ready, he’d put in the work and he had an excellent training camp,” Maloney said. “He had worked hard to improve.”

When Smith underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury in mid-December, Maloney said the Coyotes were investigating goalie trade options, but with Domingue playing so well, that no longer seems to be necessary.

He’s having more success than most goalies from 2010 draft class

Domingue was the 12th of 21 goalies selected in 2010. Of those 21, only 10 have seen NHL action and only five have played more than two games. Petr Mrazek and Frederik Andersen are the class of that draft, with Philipp Grubauer and Calvin Pickard developing into quality backups.

One of the other goalies selected was Mark Visentin, chosen 27th overall by the Coyotes. He played one game with the Coyotes and prior to last season the team decided not to extend his contract. He’s currently with the Blackhawks-affiliated Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. Visentin and Domingue briefly served as teammates on the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators and AHL’s Portland Pirates.

His first NHL win was a memorable one

In the first start of his NHL career, Domingue stopped 18 of 20 shots in a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, the team he grew up cheering for. He only saw action in seven games last season but says he learned from the experience.

“I learned about how to not get too confident and to keep working hard,” he said. “[Former Coyotes goalie coach] Sean Burke told me after my first win in Montreal that, ‘You don’t make a career out of one win,’ and that triggered something in my mind. I figured out if you work even harder the day after a win, things are going to go easier and easier.”

He was involved in a crazy line brawl in the AHL

Things got a bit out of hand during a game between the Adirondack Phantoms and Portland Pirates in early 2014. (Rough stuff in an AHL game? Say what?!) When one player took exception to a hit late in the game, a full-blown line brawl erupted. It looked as though Domingue was about to drop the gloves with opposing goalie Cal Heeter, who jumped off the bench to confront Domingue, but the referees broke it up.

That wasn’t the end of it for Domingue, though. Domingue was 29 seconds away from his second career AHL shutout when he decided to come to the defence of teammate Connor Murphy, who was being filled in by Tye McGinn. He was tossed from the game, and it cost him the shutout but it earned him the respect of his teammates. Just because he’s a goalie doesn’t mean he’ll avoid a donnybrook.

He’s the rare “Full Right” goalie

Domingue is one of only a handful goalies currently in the NHL who catch right. Steve Mason and Jonas Hiller are other notable righties in the league. This gives him an advantage on skaters who like going low blocker on orthodox goalies because his glove is one of his strengths. He credits this to playing baseball with his dad as a kid. In fact, he played organized baseball all throughout his teenage years.

“We have a big backyard at home, and after dinner I would bug him until he took me out and throw me some grounders,” Domingue told NHL.com. “I would have grass stains all over my pants, and my mom would flip because I was so dirty. Whether it was baseball or hockey, I just couldn’t get enough.”

He is the greatest bowler of all-time

Don’t for one second even think of correcting his technique either.