Say the name “Max Domi” and watch Arizona Coyotes fans get excited.
Then watch them get frustrated.
The Coyotes’ first-round pick in the 2013 Draft — 12th overall — has been tearing it up for the OHL’s London Knights, posting 75 points (22 goals, 53 assists) in 41 games this season after earning 90 points in 2013-14.
He also did this not too long ago.
Most view the 19-year-old center as someone who can help the Coyotes, who have struggled in posting the fourth-worst record in the NHL to date.
But while Domi may very well be the team’s future, the Coyotes are not rushing to make him part of the present.
“He, two years now, he had expectations to waltz in the NHL and play here,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday as part of Newsmakers Week. “And yet, we looked at him early and said we’ve had a history of forcing people into our lineup before they’re ready for everyday play.”
Indeed, in the past the Coyotes have been quick to promote top prospects like Kyle Turris and Peter Mueller, who each reached the NHL at age 19 but struggled to gain any kind of traction with the franchise.
They do not want Domi to suffer a similar fate, which is why the team is waiting on giving him the call.
“So instead of Max Domi being 18 or 19, he’s now going to be a 20-year-old, he’s turning pro, he’s not going back to junior,” Maloney said. “I would be hard-pressed to believe he’s not going to make a strong run at our team.
“We need to add front-line skill and he’s got skill and talent. To me, it’s just part of the process.”
One of the things Maloney said excited him about Domi is how the young player has handled that process, accepting the organization’s desire to take things slowly and excelling in juniors as well as for Team Canada.
But rest assured, the Coyotes can’t wait to turn him loose once he’s ready.
“I think Max is going to come in and take this team by storm next year,” Maloney said. “We need that type of skill and talent. It’s going to be up to him to do it, but the door is wide open for him.”