ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Coyotes have never had a Calder Trophy winner. That could change this season.
Forward Max Domi had a pair of goals in Monday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center to pull into a tie with the New York Rangers’ Oscar Lindberg for the NHL rookie scoring lead with seven goals. Domi’s 13 points in 14 games are second to Chicago’s 24-year-old rookie, Artemi Panarin, who has 15 points in 15 games, playing alongside Patrick Kane.
As the NHL season wears on, Domi is garnering more and more international attention, but the 20-year-old’s matter-of-fact approach to all that buzz is indicative of a guy who grew up around the pro game with his dad, Tie.
“I don’t read too much of anything,” Domi said. “I stay away from that stuff as much as possible to be honest.”
Domi probably would have preferred a race that included Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who is out for “months” with a broken collarbone, according to Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli. Domi was keeping pace with McDavid even when the 2015 No. 1 overall pick was in the lineup, averaging a shade under a point a game.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett always talks about the need for his players to find a way to impact a game. For Domi more than most Coyotes, that means producing points.
“That’s what separates them from checkers,” Tippett said. “That’s how they have to impact the game.”
How’s this for impact? Domi has tallied at least a point (5-5-10) in seven of the team’s eight road games this season. That’s heady stuff for a rookie.
“I always say that I take it game by game,” Domi said. “You get lucky sometimes; sometimes you fight the puck. You just try to stay on an even keel and go to work every night.”
The closest the Coyotes have ever come to a rookie of the year winner was in 2007-08 when Peter Mueller finished fifth with 22 goals and 54 points while Kane won it with 21 goals and 72 points.
Fourteen games into the season, Domi is showing no signs of slowing in his pursuit of that hardware.
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