How good is Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi?
His future Coyotes teammates were raving about him back in January after he scored a highlight-reel goal in the Ontario Hockey League.
“Good hands,” Coyotes’ defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson told Sportsnet.ca. “I’m really excited to see him next year. I thought he had a good training camp, but I think it’s good for him to have another year in the junior league and get ready for next year.”
Domi was in contention to make the leap to the NHL last season, but because GM Don Maloney wanted his team to be competitive, Domi was sent back to junior.
“We need to be a playoff team. That’s what’s going to get people excited and in the building,” Maloney said at the time. “Nobody has an appetite to just throw in the towel.”
Of course, the Coyotes weren’t a playoff team. Not even close.
Domi, meanwhile, went on to captain the OHL’s London Knights, scoring 32 goals and 102 points in 57 games. The 20-year-old also starred on the Canadian world junior team, scoring five goals and five assists in seven games while helping Canada win gold.
“How fast will we see Max? Very soon. He won’t need much more seasoning,” said Coyotes player development coach Steve Sullivan. “Going back to junior was the best thing for him. (It was) probably tough for him to go back, but he has passed it with flying colors.”
The 5-foot-10, 194-pound forward knows he’ll have to be able to adapt to the next level, if he is going to be an NHL regular this season.
“There’s a lot of great junior players that don’t end up playing in the NHL. You don’t want to be one of those guys,” Domi told The Arizona Republic in July. “You gotta make sure you adapt on the fly.
“Obviously, Coach (Dave) Tippett has certain expectations that he holds his players to and if you don’t uphold that, then you’re not going to cut it. You gotta make sure you’re doing everything you can to fit in.”