After a wildly inconsistent and disappointing lock-out-shortened season, the Phoenix Coyotes will look to continue to build their roster through the draft. The 2013 draft is very deep even after the top prospects (Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin) are off the board. Over the next few weeks, Five for Howling will break down a handful of prospects that could be available for the Coyotes with their pick at number 12 in this year's NHL entry draft, and discuss how the players might fit with the team.
Today's prospect: Max Domi - C (London Knights - OHL)
The name "Domi" conjures up images of the rough and tough style of former Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi. But when it comes to Tie's son Max, that rough style is replaced with skill and offensive ability.
Max Domi is enjoying his best season in major junior hockey as he finished up the 2012-2013 regular season with 39 goals and 87 points in 64 games with the London Knights of the OHL. So far this postseason, Domi has scored 11 goals and 32 points in 21 games en route to winning the Robertson Cup (awarded to the winner of the OHL Championship Series), which means Max and his teammates will compete for the Memorial Cup this year.
The offensive numbers that Domi has put up are even more impressive considering two factors that affect his game; his size and his health. At 5' 9", Domi is considered undersized, especially for a centerman. Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman says that Domi is not afraid to be physical despite his size and has a "high on-ice work ethic."
His battles on the ice are added to by his own personal health battles. Domi was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes several years ago and has to constantly monitor his blood sugar after each shift. During intermissions, Domi may even have to eat and drink just to keep his blood glucose levels in check. During games, he wears an insulin pump.
"It's not the easiest thing to handle, but as you go on with it and gain experience, it gets easier," Domi told NHL.com. "You just have to embrace it and kind of take it head-on. You can't look at it as adversity. It's something you can't change, so you kind of use it in order to better yourself as a person."
Central Scouting: 19th in North American skaters
International Scouting Services: 25th overall
Hockey Prospectus: 9th overall
"I think he could be compared to Montreal rookie Brendan Gallagher in some ways," one scout said of Domi during the opening day of the Central Scouting final meetings.
Fit in Phoenix
It is no secret that the Coyotes need high-end skilled forwards especially at the center position. Domi offers a chance to be that first or second line center that can make that dynamic offensive impact that Phoenix has been lacking for so many years.
Like most young, offensively gifted players, his defensive game needs some work. His small size puts him at a disadvantage but a better, more active stick could help balance out his size deficiencies. If his defensive game does not improve to a tolerable NHL level for a player of his skill set, Domi may see a move to left wing to help hide holes in his defensive game.
Domi may (and probably will get) a full year or two in the AHL to help develop his game against professional and older players. This is a high-upside pick with most of the downside wrapped up in physical attributes rather than in-game troubles.