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Looking to make the leap: Max Domi

Aug 10, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

Max Domi Getty Images

When the Arizona Coyotes took forward Max Domi with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, they knew they were getting an offensively gifted player. Now they’re hoping he can be the guy to help give them a lift perhaps sooner than later.

Domi, the son of former NHL roughneck Tie Domi, has been an exceptional player for the OHL London Knights the past two seasons. Two years ago, he scored 39 goals with 87 points. Last season he topped his point total putting up 93 points with 34 goals.

Just like his father, he’s got a bit of the agitator in him as well as he had 90 penalty minutes last season. But it’s the offensive skills the Coyotes selected him for and now they may need to call on him to help keep the team in the playoff hunt out West.

Arizona lost Radim Vrbata to the Vancouver Canucks in free agency and bought out Mike Ribeiro after what Coyotes GM Don Maloney said were less-than favorable circumstances. For as poorly as things worked out with Ribeiro, he was still fifth on the team in points with 47. Vrbata was second with 51 including 20 goals.

The Coyotes were able to acquire Sam Gagner from the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s guys like Antoine Vermette, Mikkel Boedker, Martin Erat and Shane Doan who shape up to carry the bulk of the offensive load. If you enter Domi into the equation and things start to look up, especially if he can use his skills to provide a spark.

If there’s an upside for Domi heading into training camp it’s that there shouldn’t be too much competition from other young players to battle for a spot with the big club.

Domi came close to cracking the lineup last season and with an added year of junior play to his record, you’d have to think he’ll be in a better position to make the Coyotes this time around.

If he can’t crack the lineup,  he can go back to London and dominate for one more season. Only question there is whether there’s anything to be gained by going back to juniors.

  1. realemman - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    The kid is a stud. Watched him all season for the Knights. Great offensively gifted player. I was SHOCKED when Hockey Canada didn’t select him for the World Juniors last year.

  2. tapefolie - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Don’t rush Domi up to the NHL he’s not ready yet, younger players are just not ready physically, their more susceptible to concussions. Also we don’t need him to be an agitator, physical yes but not an agitator that part of the game is going, thank god

    • phtjoey - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      how are younger players more susceptible to concussions?

  3. pigpen1013 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Anyone who thinks an agitator doesn’t have a place in the NHL doesn’t have a clue about the game. These players, and the physical format that the game is based on, are integral to ticket sales as well as general interest in the sport, especially in traditionally weak markets like Arizona. Everyone loves, or loves to hate, the bad guy. That’s why professional wrestling is successful and it’s at least partly why hockey can gain momentum in a place that otherwise would have no interest in the sport.

    Call me a purist, but I’m so sick of people who want to remove the physicality from the game. Big hits, fights, concussions, injuries… These are the risks a professional athlete takes. Some of us (such as myself) have been permanently injured while working a normal 9-5 job, but I never saw anyone trying to come into my former workplace and change the way things are done. It is what it is. I knew the risks, i had an accident, I’ll live with the consequences. Same goes for these multi-millionaire athletes.

  4. tapefolie - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    People who think that being an agitator is a necessity in the game of hockey doesn’t have a clue about hockey, and that’s just a fact! There is nothing wrong with being physical in the sport, but being an agitator like Sean Avery is just moronic.

    Also it sounds like there should be someone that comes in and changes the rules in you’re former workplace if it’s that dangerous of a place to work you turd!

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      I think it’s you that doesn’t have a clue about hockey. You don’t have to be well-liked across the league or by fans to have a positive impact on your team. There has always been a place for these kinds of players and there will always be a place for them. Folks let their hatred of certain players corrupt their ability to see the positives they bring to the game (or atleast their teams).

      Players like Sean Avery, Matthew Barnaby, Tie Domi, Matt Cooke, or youngsters like Antoine Roussel may be despised by most but all have played important roles at the games highest level. Has Dustin Browns ability to agitate the opposition not helped the Kings reach greater heights? Did Brad Marchand or even Chara not help the Bruins become elite? I HATE HATE HATE Sean Avery… he was a complete dbag who I wanted out of the game, but that doesn’t change the FACT that he was extremely effective at what he did. Nor did it change the FACT that more times than not these players help their respective clubs win. Also, it most cases these kinds of players are some of the most popular lockerroom guys you can find. Hate them or it all you want, but don’t let it cause all logic to fly out the window.

      • jhnyr45 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        funny…. i like all those players except matt cooke

  5. pigpen1013 - Aug 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Accidents happen everyday. It doesn’t matter if you’re at work, driving your car, or even just walking down the stairs. Accidents can happen. It’s a fact. But I digress…

    I didn’t mean to imply that anyone like Sean Avery should ever be employed in the NHL ever again. Frankly, I think that guys like Milan Lucic or Matt Cooke take it too far, even. I was more referring to guys like Alex Burrows or Jannik Hansen. Guys who draw penalties and get under the other teams skin and can still be game changers. I strongly feel that these guys are an important part of the game.

    • becauseifeltlikeit2011 - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Wow, “game changers”? pigpen1013…thy address is Vancouver. Didn’t see either Burrows or Hansen, nor practically anyone else wearing the orca, changing games last season. Losing games, maybe.

      • pigpen1013 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Yup. Game changers. I know last year was tough for Vancouver fans, but we’re not short sighted enough to forget that the Canucks won their division five years in a row leading up to last season and were also the first team to win back to back Presidents Trophies since ’97-’98, are we? It wasn’t hard to see where the issues were though. Unstable coaching, a major overhaul of the system that had been in place for years prior, and a number of suspect roster changes. Up until that point, Burrows was a perennial 20 goal man and a major influence on both the power play and the PK. Hansen had also put up above average points for a third liner since he became a regular in 2008.

        Anyway, this post wasn’t about the Canucks. Every team in the league has players similar to Burrows and Hansen who can put up decent numbers while still agitating their opponents. I think Max Domi has the potential to eventually be a good second line guy and he has the lineage to anger anyone he plays against and, in my opinion, that’s not an asset to be overlooked.

      • bsaures - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        You only won the division because the rest of the teams weee absolute garbage at that time dont kid yourself. Your core is old and quickly decling. The canucks wont see the playoffs in the next 5 years

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:11 AM

        There’s nothing wrong with supporting your team through thick and thin, and holding out hope for a playoff berth… but the Canucks are just lousy. I don’t think they’re MacDavid lousy but I’d expect another top-10 pick for them next summer. They’re aging across the board, their stars are no longer stars, and their pipeline doesn’t have close to enough talent to facilitate a turnaround. And to top it off they play in a conference with several absolute powerhouse franchises (and a bunch of others trending upwards). The Canucks are trending down, no question. Things are bleak and a TON of blame can be put on Mike Gillis. The new management has one of the toughest jobs in hockey.

  6. pigpen1013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    I’m not personally the Vancouver Canucks… You realize that, right?

    I haven’t said anything about the Canucks making the playoffs in the next five years, although I think you’re wrong in saying that they won’t at least make it to the post season.

    My core certainly is old and declining quickly but, again, I don’t see what that has to do with the Canucks. I will say though, with all certainty, that it’s not an unheard of situation for three key players to coincidentally fall off their game when they’re forced to completely change the way they usually play the game. I think Burrows and the Sedins will bounce back next season. Just one mans opinion.

  7. pigpen1013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:52 AM

    PhillyPhanatic, I am in complete agreement with what you said about agitators in the league. The only place I differ slightly is that I think guys like Avery and Lucic took to too far. Looch with his crafty playoff stick work and his big mouth and Avery with his… Well… Everything.

    As for supporting my team, I am a Canucks fan for life but, above all, I love the game. I do agree with what that other guy (forgive me for not remembering his name. I’m writing this from my phone and it doesn’t show the thread) was saying about the other teams in the division being pretty lousy, but I think that going to seven games in the Western Conference Finals in one season and then to the Stanley Cup Finals the following season (and coming within a game of winning it all) speaks to the quality of the Canucks as an organization at that time. I’m not saying they’re still a team of that caliber, but I am saying that it’s fairly narrow minded to completely count them out of the playoffs before the preseason has even started. On any given night in the NHL the worst team in the league could beat the best.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      All valid points. It would be foolish to eliminate a team before a single game of 82 has been played…but based purely on speculative projections there are a few teams (especially out West) who I wouldn’t bet on reaching the playoffs. And Vancouver is one of those teams. They could prove me (and essentially everyone) wrong but I don’t see it. I’m no expert, just the way I see things.

  8. lightning79 - Aug 11, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    Max Domi isn’t ready…I watched him last week during the team canada development camp. He looked scared to be honest with you, and he wasn’t even playing against men. He had a turnover on one of the plays instead of dumping the puck and taking the hit. He was more worried of getting out of the way of the hit. turned it over to the other who then had a 3-on-2.

    He barely drove the net, he avoided the corners.

    BUT the next game he was decent force around the net, took on some big bodies in the corners and on the board.

    In other words, he wasn’t consistent, why bring up a young guy who isn’t consistent? I would start him in the AHL, but they can’t due to the stupid rules the AHL-Juniors have. Also Domi wouldn’t gain anything from going back to junior another year. He could surely use a year in the AHL IMHO.

    • phtjoey - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      if you evaluation is correct, then i’d say he’s not ready.

      ‘stupid rules the AHL-Juniors’ not really. it would financial choke and cripple the juniors ability to develop players if every eligible junior player drafted by an NHL team was to play in the AHL.

      • bsaures - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        I think a rule though that allows 1-2 junior age players to play on each ahl team would be a good idea as long as they are releases for world juniors. It would help guys like domi who are too good for junior but not quite nhl ready

      • phtjoey - Aug 11, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        it’s a very tough call. that would mean 30 to 60 junior aged players would be playing in the AHL. IMO that would be a suicide rule for amateur hockey. small city team thrive on having some of the best 17 to 19 year old players. There was a time when a player had to be completed his junior hockey before he was eligible for the draft. no so anymore.

      • lightning79 - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        I agree it would more than likely cripple some of the CHL teams. but what if only only top 30 picks could play AHL (where only maybe 5-10 per season could play AHL anyways). I think Alan Walsh came out with a way to do that without screwing over the CHL too much.

        For example, this season if Drouin doesn’t make the Lightning (which he will), Tampa’s only option is to send him back to junior. Another Example is Adam Erne, he proved at the end of the season that he could play AHL and probably NHL (had like 4 goals last year in NHL preseason) but they more than likely have to send him back to junior.

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