With top scoring forwards Radim Vrbata and Mike Ribeiro moving on during the summer, the Arizona Coyotes are looking for help offensively.
Enter Max Domi.
The Coyotes first round pick from 2013 (12th overall) scored 34 goals and 93 points in 61 games last season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
“We’re all questioning how we’re going to score,” General Manager Don Maloney told The Arizona Republic, “and that’s what (Max) does. So let’s see if he can do it.”
NHL.com has the 5-foot-9, 185-pound center pegged as a second liner between Lauri Korpikoski and new comer Sam Gagner.
Domi’s strength on the puck, his quickness and his play in his own zone were all concerns raised by Coyotes coaching staff. The 19-year-old has spent the summer addressing the issues.
“It’s obviously something that I’ve been told to work on, so doing that and using my teammates a little better is something that I know I gotta do better at,” Domi said. “I’ve been watching video of the Coyotes and how they run things. I’ve worked on that a lot, and we’ll see how it works out.”
Domi, the son of 16-year NHL veteran Tie Domi, has proven he can score at the junior level netting 94 goals and 229 points in 187 games over three OHL seasons, but Coyotes coach Dave Tippett is interested to see if Domi can do it against the bigger, better competition the NHL presents.
“Those players are talented in juniors,” Tippett said. “They can get away with things that they can’t get away with here. There has to be a base of knowledge of structure and how to play in certain situations before you can use that skill here. That will be the test for him.”
Domi still has a year of junior hockey eligibility before he can even play in the American Hockey League, but how good will it be for his long-term development to go back to London and dominate against kids younger than him?
Arizona could have a tough decision on their hands as Domi looks to make the leap to the NHL this season.