GLENDALE – Prospect Max Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick in last June’s NHL Draft, headed back to his junior team on Saturday after a getting a lengthy look at his first NHL training camp.
"(I) Had an amazing experience in Phoenix!" Domi tweeted on Saturday. "Learned a lot and can't thank everyone enough! So pumped to get back at it with the boys in London!"
The 18-year-old turned heads during camp but ultimately the Coyotes felt he’d be better served playing with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League this season instead of jumping to the NHL.
“We just felt like for a young player it was best for him to go back and continue to grow his game,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “I think Max should look at it as just a great experience (here) for a month. He got the feel of the NHL and NHL players… He needs to get just a little stronger and a little wiser. He’s going to be a great NHL player for a long time.”
Forwards Chris Brown and Lucas Lessio, meanwhile, have earned roster spots for opening night, which is Thursday at home vs. the New York Rangers.
The Coyotes selected Lessio with the 56th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.
| Brown |
“It’s definitely a great feeling still being here, ” Lessio said. “… It’s a whole new level of work now. It’s a long grind in the season.”
He added, “I thought I had a pretty good summer and got a lot stronger. I had the mindset that I wanted to make the best impression that I could to possibly make this team.”
Lessio, who wore sweater No. 51 during training camp, switched to No. 22 on Saturday.
Brown played five games for the Coyotes last season but spent most of the year in the American Hockey League.
“It was a quick five games and it seems like a long time ago, but (because of it) I kind of knew what to expect in an NHL game,” Brown said. “… I learned a lot from last year and playing with the guys I played with.”
The Coyotes selected Brown with the 36th overall pick in 2009. He played three seasons at the University of Michigan before turning pro last season.