A change in agents has never worked so well. Just 24 hours after a report emerged that goaltender Louis Domingue had switched his representation in hopes of finding a trade out of Tampa Bay, a deal is done. The New Jersey Devils have announced that they have acquired Domingue from the Lightning. The return is just a conditional 2021 seventh-round pick in what is merely a small salary dump for the Bolts.
Domingue, 27, is surely ecstatic not only to be out of the crowded net in Tampa, as well as AHL Syracuse, but also to be moving into a situation where there is a realistic opportunity to see NHL action. Despite a career season last year with the Lightning in which he recorded a 21-5-0 record, Domingue found himself replaced this off-season. The Lightning opted to bring in veteran Curtis McElhinney as the number two to starter Andrei Vasilevskiy, creating a solid NHL tandem and all but sealing Domingue’s fate of being buried in the minor leagues. On top of that, they also acquired Mike Condon as part of the move to rid themselves of Ryan Callahan’s contract and then signed Scott Wedgewood and Spencer Martin, creating a complete logjam in goal. Domingue now moves to an entirely different scenario in New Jersey. The Devils have the fewest wins in the NHL and plenty of their struggles can be traced back to the net. Injury-prone veteran Cory Schneider has an .847 save percentage and 4.71 GAA and young backup MacKenzie Blackwood has not been much better, holding an .871 save percentage and 3.31 GAA. Compared to Domingue’s numbers with Tampa last year – .908 save percentage and 2.88 GAA – Domingue is already lightyears ahead of his competition. Domingue will report to AHL Binghamton for now, but it seems very likely that he will make his return to the NHL level before too long. Whether that makes a difference when it comes to New Jersey’s season is another thing.
For Tampa, they surely would have liked to get more value back for a goalie who performed well last season, but they will settle for a slight salary cap credit. While buried in the AHL, almost all of Domingue’s $1.15MM salary could be removed from the Bolts’ cap calculations. However, $75K remained, and when you’re tight against the cap ceiling as the Lightning are, every little bit helps. As for the draft pick, the conditions are that Tampa Bay will receive the pick if Domingue plays in seven NHL regular season games for New Jersey; plays in one NHL playoff game for New Jersey; or is traded by the Devils prior to the start of the 2020 NHL Draft. If none of those three additions occur, then the Lightning really did just trade Domingue for $75K in savings. Which circles back to the initial point of switching agents really paying off for the savvy netminder.