GLENDALE – Max Domi’s season didn’t end the way he wanted it to end, but the high-scoring Coyotes prospect is pleased with the totality of his 2013-14 campaign and is eager to take the next step of his career.
Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, notched a career-high 93 points (34 goals, 59 assists) in 61 regular-season games and added 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine playoff games for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
"Max had another strong season in London, leading the Knights in scoring and being one of the top offensive players in the OHL," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. "He made a real effort to improve his game without the puck. Last year’s training camp was a learning experience for Max and, with Max being a year older and wiser, we expect him to be a serious contender for a roster spot next season."
Domi twice was named the OHL's Player of the Week during 2013-14 and at season's end the Knights selected him as the team nominee for the league's Most Outstanding Player award. He did not win it, but he was named to the OHL's third All-Star Team.
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"I’ve learned something new every day, especially playing on the team I was able to play on the last three years," Domi said. "It’s been pretty special and a privilege to play with some of the guys we’ve had in London."
After posting an impressive 103-point season, London lost all three games it played at the Memorial Cup; a 35-day layoff between their last playoff game and their first game at the tournament proved costly.
"London had an extended break prior to the beginning of the Memorial Cup and their entire team were out of sync, including Max,” said Maloney, who attended the tournament in London's home rink. "After leading the Knights in scoring this past season, Max was symbolic of their entire team – he worked hard yet tried to do too much on his own with limited results. He flashed his speed, quick hands and playmaking skills on occasion yet nothing came easy and they were eliminated from the tournament quite early."
Domi agreed that the five-week stretch without playing a game cost the tournament's hosts.
"Momentum and confidence are big parts of hockey and unfortunately we couldn’t find either one," Domi said. "It was a tough five weeks of skating hard and trying to stay in shape… but at the end of the day, when you don’t play a hockey game for 35 days it’s tough to stay in the loop and then try to jump in and win a Memorial Cup game against teams like that. Those teams were all unbelievable hockey teams, and we got cold and couldn’t score and it was tough for us to stick with them and to win hockey games. But that’s hockey sometimes. I’m sure we’re all going to learn from it."
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Domi is looking forward to attending the Coyotes annual Prospect Development Camp in July and then his second training camp in September. Last year he was one of the final players cut from camp. When he left he vowed to work on becoming a better and smarter player in all three zones.
"I did everything I possibly could to focus on becoming more of a complete player this season and I worked hard to do that," Domi said. "Hopefully it pays off this summer at development camp and then at training camp in the fall."
He added, "Last year was my first experience at a pro camp and probably the best experience of my life. I had a lot of fun and I learned all kinds of stuff. I can’t wait to hopefully repeat that and keep working to get better."