The Calgary Flames play the Phoenix Coyotes in a NHL preseason game later Wednesday, which has bearing on junior hockey since first-round picks Sean Monahan and Max Domi will be playing.
From a junior perspective, how long Domi sticks it out with Phoenix is more #hotsportstakes worthy since it was the potential to play hell with the London Knights' Memorial Cup conquest. Since London, on paper, is loaded for bear even while Domi, the Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat, Pittsburgh Penguins' Olli Määttä and Buffalo Sabres' Nikita Zadorov remain with NHL teams, the natural impulse is to conjure up some scenario where London will have to get by without one of all of the teenaged talents.
Domi played 16 minutes 23 seconds in Phoenix's preseason loss to the Canucks, getting four shots on goal, while getting ample time on the power play. He's likely to return to London eventually, but there is a chance he could be the last to drift back.
From Morris Dalla Costa (@MoDaCoatLFPress):
The Phoenix Coyotes need something to show their fans. It’s a team without a lot of flash and Domi is by far the flashiest and highlight-prone of the four. Domi’s offensive skill is what fans love to see and that skill set allows the Coyotes to get him into areas where he can be effective, like the power play.
The Coyotes want Domi to make the team. From everything that’s been reported, Domi is getting a lot of ice time. He has been skating on the wing with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. That’s not the kind of line that’s put together just for fun. There is a method to the Coyotes’ madness.
But it would be madness to keep Domi. Now that the Coyote financial mess appears to be a little be more settled, making sure the future continues in the right direction means protecting your investment. Domi is an investment that needs to be handled correctly and that investment will pay dividends in the future. (London Free Press)
The inevitable comparable — guilty as charged — with Domi is Jeff Skinner going directly from the Kitchener Rangers to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup after being selected No. 7 overall in the 2010 NHL draft. Each had a prolific 17-year-old season that included a massive playoff performance; each is an undersized centre, and so on and so forth.
The one difference is Skinner was dominant in 2009-10 with Kitchener. Without making a direct comparision since each player’s circumstance was Granny Smiths-to-Empire apples, Domi graded out highly, but not quite as highly, in '12-13. His season put him more in line with other exciting current Canadian prospects such as the Chicoutimi Saguenéens’ Charles Hudon or Portland Winterhawks’ Nic Petan. Hardly any shame in that, since Hudon made Team Canada last winter and Petan shared the WHL scoring title.
Chances are, Domi returns, just like Mark Scheifele came back from the Winnipeg Jets to the Barrie Colts each of the past two seasons. If nothing else, it bears discussing.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.