NEW YORK -- Max Domi said Friday he expects the Arizona Coyotes to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
"There's no reason we can't," Domi told TSN. "We came out of the gates pretty hot (last) year and we beat some high-end teams, but when the nitty-gritty comes down to it, you've got to be able to win after the All-Star break, that's when it really matters."
The Coyotes haven't qualified for the playoffs since the 2011-12 NHL season, when they advanced to the Western Conference Final. Last season, they finished with 78 points, nine behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Arizona started 3-0-0 and won nine of 16 games but was unable to sustain that success.
"Finding a way to find that consistency and manage that throughout an 82-game season will be pretty clutch for us and there's no reason we can't do it," Domi said.
One reason for Domi's optimism is the acquisitions Arizona made on defense this off-season. They traded for and signed Alex Goligoski, and signed Luke Schenn. Those additions should help the Coyotes, who allowed 2.98 goals per game last season, 28th in the League. The defense already includes Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Michael Stone.
"Our (defense) core is pretty solid," Domi said. "Goligoski is unbelievable; I had to play against him quite a bit when he was in Dallas (with the Stars), and Luke Schenn, I watched him when he was with the (Maple) Leafs and played against him a little bit this year (when he was with the Los Angeles Kings) too. Both of those guys are going to be outstanding, and the other new guys we got are going to be awesome too."
Domi, 21, who had 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in 81 games during his rookie season, also mentioned captain Shane Doan returning for his 21st season as a reason the Coyotes could turn things around. Doan will turn 40 on Oct. 10.
"He's one of the best people I know, not just in hockey or sports, just in general," Domi said. "He's a really special person, great family, and he helps us all out. Not just the young guys, he helps the older guys out too. He's what drives our whole organization, essentially, and we knew he was going to come back for another year, but it's nice to have that locked in that he's coming back. It's exciting, and hopefully he'll play a couple more (years)."