Max Domi is thinking big for next season.
After an impressive rookie campaign, in which Domi scored 18 goals and 52 points, the now 21-year-old forward is eyeing a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Arizona Coyotes.
Tall order, given they are in the Pacific Division and they were 20 points behind the San Jose Sharks for third in the division when the season ended.
But Domi is optimistic.
“There’s no reason we can’t,” Domi told TSN.
“We came out of the gates pretty hot this year and we beat some high-end teams but when the nitty gritty comes down to it, you gotta be able to win after the All-Star break — that’s when it really matters. Finding a way to find that consistency and manage that throughout an 82-game season will be pretty clutch for us and there’s no reason we can’t do it.”
The Coyotes have had a busy offseason since the middle of April. Here are a few examples:
— They fired GM Don Maloney, citing a need to move in a new direction. (Click here)
— They promoted 26-year-old John Chayka, who, as a result, became the youngest GM in NHL history, definitely representing a change in direction. (Click here)
— They acquired the rights to defenseman Alex Goligoski and signed him to a five-year deal. The idea was to add a defenseman capable of efficiently moving the puck to Arizona’s skilled group of forwards. (Click here)
— After a breakout season, goalie Louis Domingue was signed to a multi-year deal that could represent a changing of the guard in the Coyotes crease, which previously belonged to Mike Smith. (Click here)
— They added grit by signing Jamie McGinn to a three-year, $10 million deal. (Click here)
— After a lengthier negotiation process than maybe expected, the Coyotes re-signed Shane Doan for one year at $5 million. Doan, who turns 40 years old in October, led Arizona last season with 28 goals. (Click here)
— They made further moves on the blue line, adding Luke Schenn and re-signing restricted free agents Connor Murphy and Michael Stone. (Click here)
The Coyotes, already with Domi and Anthony Duclair, could have another young, skilled forward in Dylan Strome, the third overall pick in 2015, fight for a spot on the roster next season.
So, yeah. Busy.
With all the moves this summer, especially on the blue line, the Coyotes could perhaps take the next step in their evolution. It will also depend on other teams in the West, and if they improve or regress.
Whether that translates an Arizona appearance in the 2017 playoffs won’t be known for several months. But you can count Domi as a believer.