A couple of days ago, fans of the Vancouver Canucks were interested in who general manager Jim Benning might be bringing to the club. There were hot and heavy rumors that local boy Troy Stecher would be headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs and that Tyson Barrie would be coming back Vancouver’s way in a trade.
According to those in the know, the issue was that Stecher would have to be qualified at a number the Canucks were uncomfortable with and that Barrie would be an upgrade on defense – even if he were a rental and that it would be better to get something for Stecher rather than to lose him during the offseason for nothing.
If that happened, it would be déjà vu all over again because last season the Canucks declined the chance to qualify defenseman Ben Hutton and, as a result, the Canucks let Hutton walk. He eventually signed with the Los Angeles Kings for a cap hit of $1.5 million.
Instead, none of that happened. From out of the blue, the Canucks made a trade with the New Jersey Devils for 27-year-old goalie Louis Domingue. Dominique has played for three NHL clubs after being drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes. He played a few seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and then this season with the New Jersey Devils.
Why the Canucks Went Out to Get Dominque
Later Monday, February 24, the team shed some light on the trade. Starting goalie Jacob Markstrom left Saturday’s game (a 9-3 victory) with the Boston Bruins after taking a stick to the eye but was able to finish the game. At first, there was speculation that his eye was bothering him and that the Canucks brought in Domingue from the Devils for that reason.
However, that wasn’t the real issue. Instead, Markstrom underwent an MRI on his knee Monday and the news wasn’t good. He might have to sit out 3-to-4 weeks. Although it was a surprise when the Canucks traded with the Devils for Domingue, Markstrom’s potentially long-term injury justifies such a move.
Clearly, should the team lose its starting goalie, it needs help. Markstrom has been outstanding this season with a .918 save percentage and 23-16-4 record. In his place, rookie Thatcher Demko will be the starter until Markstrom’s recovery allows him to return.
As for the trade itself, the Canucks brought in Domingue for goalie Zane McIntyre. The 27-year-old McIntyre has mostly kicked around in the minors after being drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. In fact, during the 2016-17 season, he played in eight games for the Bruins and compiled an 0-4 record.
Because the Canucks are concerned about Markstrom’s knee injury, bringing Domingue to the team adds some insurance in the crease. Domingue has shown that he can stop pucks, and his record with the Devils this season is probably not an indication of what he can do. The Devils are not a strong team this season.
We hope Markstrom is able to return quickly. The last word we have is that he’s expected to be out until at least March 15. He’s likely the key to the Canucks run towards the playoffs. Until his return, Demko will likely carry the heavy load with Domingue backing up.
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