Good for Curtis McElhinney, and his children’s trust funds. At the age of 36 and after 14 seasons in professional hockey, McElhinney has just earned the most lucrative contract of his career. Prior to signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, McElhinney had never earned more than $850,000 a year and, outside his entry-level contract, never had a contract that lasted more than two years.
He still got only two years, but his yearly stipend to back up Andrei Vasilevskiy will be $1.3 million per season. Of course, that has something to do with the fact that McElhinney has almost certainly played the best hockey of his career over the past couple of seasons. In the past two campaigns, McElhinney has compiled a 31-16-3 record with a .920 save percentage for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes in a backup role.
Which is all well and good, but the one head scratcher here is that McElhinney has rendered Louis Domingue expendable. For those of you keeping score at home, Domingue is nine years younger than McElhinney and had a 21-5-0 record with the Lightning this past season. But the Lightning clearly want to move Domingue and his $1.15 million cap hit this summer.
— Louis Domingue (@domingue35) July 1, 2019
In McElhinney, the Lightning get a reliable veteran goaltender who can win the games he needs to win when the team wants to spell off Vasilevskiy and is capable of taking over the net for extended periods in the case of an injury to the 2019 Vezina Trophy winner. But then again, they already had that in Domingue, who stood in very well when Vasilevskiy broke his foot early in the season. Give Domingue credit, though. He posted a hilarious tweet upon learning the Lightning had signed McElhinney. But it’s pretty clear he’s going to have to take that competitive fire somewhere else.
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