Jason Brough


With two-year contract extension, Coyotes expect Domingue to ‘take that next step’

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When all was said and done, the Arizona Coyotes didn’t get very good goaltending last season. They finished with a team save percentage of just .904, one of the lowest rates in the league.

That being said, they did get one very good stretch in December and January from Louis Domingue, and for that he was given a two-year, $2.1 million contract extension.

Now Domingue, 24, is out to prove he’s for real.

“Being a 24-year-old goalie in this league is an honor,” Domingue told the Arizona Republic. “Not every goalie gets up here this fast. I’m taking it one day at a time, and it happened to me. Putting in the work and not looking too far ahead, it worked out. I’m here now, so I’m going to keep pushing the same way.”

The Coyotes still have Mike Smith under contract for three more years. As former GM Don Maloney put it, they’re “married” to him, at a cap hit of $5.7 million to boot.

Smith, 34, went 15-13-2 with a .916 save percentage last season, and he actually played very well after returning in mid-March from abdominal surgery.

So it should be an interesting battle for playing time between the young netminder and the veteran.

“He’s been solid,” GM John Chayka said of Domingue. “It looked like he had a good summer and came in in good shape. … I expect him to take that next step. Louis’ got the talent to do it. It’s now doing it.”

Hurricane Matthew forces cancellation of Panthers-Lightning preseason game

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Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to hit Florida Thursday or Friday, has forced the cancellation of tomorrow’s preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

The cancellation, which was expected, was confirmed today by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

From the Miami Herald:

The Panthers could leave for their previously scheduled weekend trip to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, a little earlier than scheduled.

Florida plays the New Jersey Devils at West Point in its preseason finale on Saturday night.

As for the storm, here’s the latest from NBC News:

Thousands of Americans were headed for higher ground Wednesday as deadly Hurricane Matthew crawled across the Caribbean and toward the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

The storm is likely to bring high winds, heavy rain and storm surges to Florida on Thursday, before crawling its way up the coast toward Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday or Saturday. 

Minnesota sends Tuch to AHL, while Eriksson Ek remains


It was always going to be tough for Alex Tuch to make the Minnesota Wild out of training camp. The team already had four NHL veterans at right wing — Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Jason Pominville, and Chris Stewart — while Tuch is only 20 years old and has yet to play a single regular-season game as a professional.

So today’s news that Tuch, the former Boston College star, has been assigned to AHL Iowa should come as no real surprise. The Wild also sent Jordan Schroeder, Kurtis Gabriel and Hunter Warner down to the farm.

Related: Alex Tuch is looking to make the leap

While Tuch was sent down, another of the Wild’s top prospects, forward Joel Eriksson Ek, remained. The 19-year-old Swede was a first-round draft pick in 2015, and it sounds like he has a good chance to start the season in the NHL.

Eriksson Ek, a center, outlasted 23-year-old center Tyler Graovac, who today was placed on waivers. (Presumably Graovac will be assigned to the AHL should he clear.)

Suffice to say, Eriksson Ek is a very important prospect for a team whose top two centers, Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu, are on the tail ends of their careers.

According to the Star Tribune, if Eriksson Ek doesn’t stick with the Wild, he could return to Sweden for another season with Färjestad.

Ottawa releases Bartkowski from PTO


The Ottawa Senators have released former Bruins and Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski from his professional tryout.

Bartkowski, 28, took the audition with the Sens after failing to turn his one year with Vancouver into a guaranteed contract anywhere. He played 80 games last season and had six goals and 12 assists, but the Canucks chose to let him walk.

The Sens still have eight defenseman on their training camp roster. That includes 19-year-old Thomas Chabot, the 18th overall draft pick in 2015 who has yet to play an NHL game. It also includes 23-year-old Fredrik Claesson, who only made his NHL debut in December.

A few weeks ago, it was reported that the Sens had “kicked tires” on free agents Dennis Seidenberg and Kris Russell. Seidenberg has since signed with the Isles, while Russell remains unsigned.

Flyers send big Samuel Morin to AHL


The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they’ve assigned defenseman Samuel Morin and forward Taylor Leier to the AHL.

Morin, 21, is the best known of the two, having been the 11th overall draft pick in 2013. A big, tall defensive defenseman, he’s coming off his first pro season, scoring four goals with 11 assists in 76 games for Lehigh Valley. (He also had 118 penalty minutes, which tells you something about his style.)

Though Morin has yet to play his first NHL game, and while he doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, the Flyers still like him as a prospect.

“First of all, Sammy skates well,” GM Ron Hextall said recently, per PhillyVoice. “Sam is not old school where he doesn’t skate very well. He moves well, he’s a big guy who has great range. You still have to get the puck back, so guys like Sammy are not going to go away. I think the guys that started to go away are the guys who aren’t very fleet of foot.”

The future of the Flyers’ blue line is still unfolding. Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov are both sure bets to be part of it, and management liked Radko Gudas enough to give him a four-year contract extension. But Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, and Michael Del Zotto are all pending unrestricted free agents, and Andrew MacDonald, despite his contract, will need to keep proving he belongs in the NHL.

So while Morin may be disappointed that he’s yet to establish himself with the Flyers, there are opportunities to be had down the line.

Related: Travis Konecny pushing for roster spot in Philly