Coyotes prospect profile: Max Domi

Max Domi has been on Coyotes’ fans radar for so long that there is little information left to reveal about the team’s 2013 first-round pick until he arrives at training camp this fall.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney has all but guaranteed that Domi will be on the roster next season, and Domi has earned that assurance with his play this season for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In 57 games, he had 32 goals and 102 points to finish ninth in the league in scoring — one of three Knights to finish in the top 10 — while playing far fewer games than anyone ahead of him except Connor McDavid.

"When (Dave) Tip(pett) and Don told me ‘We’re sending you back to juniors’ it wasn’t bad by any means," said Domi, whose Knights opened the OHL playoffs Friday at home against Kitchener and fellow Coyotes prospect Ryan MacInnis. "They told me I’d learn to do things the right way and I’d come along further than I thought I would. Obviously, they were right."

"I think he’s come leaps and bounds from where he was, and the best thing about that is it was his choice," said Coyotes development coach Steve Sullivan when discussing Domi’s play away from the puck and his decision-making with it. "I don’t think anyone thought he couldn’t do it, but when you get back to the OHL with that kind of skill, there are not enough good players to challenge you consistently to be that all-around player if you are not challenging yourself.

"You can get away with mistakes at that level, but Max understands if he makes those kinds of mistakes in the NHL, they’re going right back into your net. You turn the puck over or you lose guys in defensive coverage or make bad plays and it’s going to create momentum and hurt your hockey team."

"It’s my last year of juniors, so I took it upon myself to really enjoy it," said Domi, London’s captain. "Everyone I talk to, guys like Corey Perry, they always say ‘I wish I could come back and play one more year of juniors because it’s one of the best times of your life.’

Sullivan says there are no significant holes in Domi’s game. His biggest adjustment will be the speed of the game at the pro level.

"Does he play in Portland and get a couple games to see how he does at the AHL level or just to get a feel for that level?" Sullivan asked. "Or, with the year he’s had and the strides he’s made in his game, if he has a good training camp, you might give him a chance to stay up and make the club.

Coyotes prospect profiles

"Whatever the decision, like anybody else, you’re going to be tested every single game, so he’ll earn his spot and continue to earn it from then on out."

When he does, Domi will bring the type of high-end skill the Coyotes have sorely lacked. It will take time for that skill to impact the on-ice product, but one former Coyote with that type of skill believes it will have another, more immediate effect. 

"You need a marquee player to watch; a guy who’s exciting to watch that will make people take that drive out to Glendale," Jeremy Roenick said. "You have to do all the other stuff, the events, and building the youth hockey and marketing, but to get people really excited about hockey, you have to play exciting hockey with exciting players. That will put people in the seats. Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are those kinds of players."

Domi has had his share of highlight reel plays, from the between the legs saucer pass to Bo Horvat in a Memorial Cup round-robin game against Portland to the circus goal he scored earlier this season against Sarnia.

The Coyotes don’t want Domi to curtail that precious creativity; they just want him to pick the right spots to showcase it.

"I’ve definitely gotten in trouble with my coach from time to time," Domi said, laughing. "I know I’ll have to be careful with it."

Team: London Knights (OHL)

Age: 20

Height: 5-10

Weight: 194

COYOTES (23-44-8) at PENGUINS (40-23-11)

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Pittsburgh

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Season series: Penguins lead, 1-0

Injuries: Arizona — RW Mikkel Boedker (splenectomy) and C Martin Hanzal (back surgery) are out for the season. F Lauri Korpikoski (mouth) is day to day and won’t play. Pittsburgh — F Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and F Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) are day to day and could play. D Christian Erhoff (upper body) is out several days. F Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) and D Olli Maatta (upper body) are on injured reserve.

Quick facts: Pittsburgh has lost six of its last seven games. . . . C Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 75 points. . . . G Marc-Andre Fleury is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts with nine. . . . Former Coyote Thomas Greiss will start in goal for Pittsburgh; Mike Smith will start for the Coyotes.

Position: LW

Shoots: Left

Drafted: 1st round, 2013 (12th overall)

2014-15 stats: 57 games, 32 goals, 70 assists, 102 points, 66 PIM

Timeline: Coyotes GM Don Maloney all but guaranteed that Domi will be in the Coyotes’ lineup next season.

Quote: "He’s playing with such confidence now — and the type of confidence that he can carry over to this level once he gets here. He just knows now that he is a good player. It reinforces the decision to send him back to juniors and let him develop." — Coyotes GM Don Maloney said of Domi. "

Did You Know? When Domi’s father, Tie, played for the Maple Leads, Max spent a lot of time in the players wives’ lounge, where the team served Maple Leaf cookies with each player’s last name and number on them. Domi’s favorite Leaf was Mats Sundin, so he’d steal all the No. 13 cookies. . . . Domi wears No. 16 because former Flyer Bobby Clarke had Type 1 diabetes just like Domi. . . . Domi won gold medals with Canada at the 2012 Ivan Hlikna Tournament in the Czech Republic, and the 2015 World Junior Championship in Canada.

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