GLENDALE – First-round draft pick Max Domi was among seven players trimmed from the Coyotes Training Camp roster on Thursday.
Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall draft pick in 2013, will report to his junior team – the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
|Max Domi. Photo by Norm Hall. |
"I thought he had a terrific camp, much better than a year ago," General Manager Don Maloney said. "He’s quicker, stronger - he’s just 19 years old. He’s a young player that has to continue to be able to execute offensively at the NHL level on a consistent basis. When we talk Max Domi, we’re not talking about a fourth-line energy player. We need him to be a top-two line offensive contributor and he’s going to be a great player for us down the road… In an ideal world we’d love to put him in the American (Hockey) League, but that’s not available to us. He’ll go back to junior."
Steve Sullivan, who recently joined the Coyotes as Development Coach, will spend lots of one-on-one time with Domi this season to aid his progression.
"His next step is just to execute at NHL speed," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He’s a quick player but the next step is when you don’t have as much time to make those plays they’ve still got to get made. We think Max is going to be a top-six forward. Right now he’s just not going to beat any of our top-six forwards out (so) it’s best for him to keep playing and developing."
Domi has played three seasons for London and has dominated at that level. The Coyotes are hoping that will continue this season and they also hope he can earn a spot on Team Canada’s World Junior Team for the first time.
* Six other players were assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate on Thursday: defensemen Andrew Campbell and Brandon Gormley, goalie Louis Domingue, and forwards Lucas Lessio, Tobias Rieder, and Jordan Szwarz.
Regarding Gormley, who played five games for the Coyotes last season, Maloney said:
"I didn’t think he was particularly strong (at camp). I think he put a lot of pressure on himself to make this team trying to play perfect hockey, which resulted in hesitant, slow-playing hockey, which doesn’t cut it. That’s not good enough. We expect more. He’s going to be a real good player for us. He needs to bring his A-game back and then he’ll get back in the lineup."
* Center Justin Hodgman and defenseman Matt Smaby remain in camp.
"He’s been a pleasant surprise to date," Maloney said of Hodgman, who leads the team with four preseason goals. "…He has some creativity at the center position that we’re interested in. Whether he can hang in there and start the season with us, we’ll see."
Smaby is a physical defenseman with 122 games on his NHL resume – all with Tampa Bay.
* Forward Sam Gagner is expected to play in the team’s preseason finale on Friday vs. San Jose at Gila River Arena.
* Friday’s preseason game vs. San Jose can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Bob Heethuis and new radio analyst Nick Boynton will work together for the first time.
* The morning skate on Friday will be held at Ice Den in Scottsdale. It is closed to the public.