Slapshot Fantasy

Domingue An Excellent Fantasy Stopgap through February

The NHL’s January rookie of the month is under 60 percent owned in Yahoo! and CBS fantasy leagues and less than 90 percent owned in ESPN fantasy leagues. Louis Domingue has been one of the most surprising stories in hockey this season and will have the crease in Arizona for what appears to be at least one more month – which is all the reason you need to stop what you’re doing right now and go grab him if he’s available in your fantasy league(s).

Mike Smith’s core muscle injury, which set the stage for Domingue’s emergence about seven weeks ago, is now likely to keep him on the shelf until the end of February according to Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. There are also rumors circulating that Smith is not guaranteed the starting role when he returns because of how successful Domingue has been in his absence (last two games aside).

With “King Louis” in the crease the Coyotes are very much in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference and are currently third in the Pacific Division.

Goaltending controversies need to be on the radar of every active fantasy hockey manager. No position causes as many headaches and muttered profanities over morning coffees in fantasy hockey than goaltending. The opportunity to land a goaltender that has a 0.924 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average on a team that is clawing their way into the postseason at the All-Star break is something that few fantasy managers can afford to pass up.

If there isn’t a clear need for a goaltender on your fantasy team, there is a very persuasive argument to be made about depriving rival fantasy managers of a valuable asset at the expense of your least valuable skater.

Domingue’s nine wins in relief of the injured Smith have lifted him to a spot just outside of the top 100 players in fantasy value in standard scoring categories. Helped by the small sample size of 17 quality appearances before the All-Star break, Domingue has had more value than a couple of big name goaltenders in the world of fantasy hockey. Playing behind a young, hungry, and system-oriented team in Arizona has been a recipe for success for the 23-year-old net minder.

Being shelled for five goals against the Winnipeg Jets in the Coyotes’ last game before the All-Star break appears to have scared off quite a few fantasy managers from claiming Domingue – which is one of the reasons why he remains an untapped resource in so many fantasy leagues. In the nine games prior to that bad outing, Domingue allowed just 16 goals and won six of the games he started in. The masked rookie in Arizona has been both good and consistent this season in the desert which is all you can ask of any fantasy goaltender.

This is the time of the year when many fantasy hockey managers need to start rolling the dice and taking some gambles to get into the postseason in their leagues. Finding a safer or more attractive bet than the red hot Louis Domingue right now will be a tall task. With that said, Arizona does have a brutal month of February hockey ahead of them including games against powerhouse offenses like the Blackhawks, Stars, and Capitals. When to start Domingue and when to sit him will very much be a decision to made on game day, but for those that are most in need of fantasy goaltending stats he remains an exceedingly alluring option.

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