GLENDALE -- Despite the buzz surrounding him and his future, Coyotes prospect Max Domi is tapping the brakes somewhat and assuming nothing as training camp for the 2015-16 season approaches.
“I just want to make the team,” Domi said this week after an informal skate with other Coyotes in Scottsdale. “I’m not looking too far ahead. There’s a lot of young guys here that are trying to come in and earn a spot, too.”
Earlier this summer, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett declared Domi to be NHL ready after watching him at the team’s annual Prospect Development Camp. He said Domi’s progress over the past two years was “phenomenal.” Thus, expectations for Domi are high within the organization and the fan base.
Asked if he agreed with Tippett’s assessment that he’s prepared to play in the world’s top hockey league, Domi said: “I hope so. Obviously it’s a big step from junior to the NHL and you’ve got to adjust your game and adjust everything you do. I’ve got a lot to work on here and obviously I’m going to be just acting like a sponge throughout training camp and just learning as much as I can. I can’t wait.”
This will be the third NHL training camp for Domi, who notched eye-popping offensive statistics in his four years with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In 244 games, he tallied 331 points (126 goals and 205 assists). The key for him taking the next step will be showing he can be an all-around player in all three zones.
“If you look at a hockey game, you don’t have the puck for as much as you might think,” Domi said. “Most of the game is playing away from the puck, so it’s how you do that and how hard you work (and) it’s being in the right places. The game moves at such a high pace. There is a very small window of error. You don’t want to mess that up. You don’t want to think too much. You want it to come naturally.”
The Coyotes selected Domi with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He has waited patiently for his chance to play in the NHL ever since and it appears he will do so very soon. His father, Tie, played 1,020 NHL games over 16 seasons, including 173 games for Winnipeg. The Jets, of course, became the Coyotes when the team moved to Phoenix in 1996.
Other prospects expected to get long looks at training camp include forwards Anthony Duclair, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak.
“I want to make the team and I want to help these guys win,” Domi said. “…The core group they have here is outstanding so there’s a couple of young guys and we just want to come in here and do whatever we can to help these guys win.”
Follow Dave Vest on Twitter: @davest4yotes