With so much that has happened to the Arizona Coyotes in the past few months from being homeless to acting as bullies to the city they are occupied in, the future of hockey in Phoenix is beginning to clear. A lot has been done this off season to redevelop their program who purposefully let go of quite a bit just to become playoff contenders again. They let go then brought back now Stanley Cup Champion Antoine Vermette, who was traded to Chicago and became a huge impact during the Blackhawks big run. Former Kings center Brad Richardson also found his way to the desert, looking to bring some leadership and some nice buzz. This could be a potential strong signing to help mentor Dylan Strome who is getting a nice taste of NHL action this season.
But the biggest hype that seems to be well into the making is the first appearance of Max Domi, the Canadian sensation who was drafted by the Coyotes in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. There were plenty of times last season where the Coyote faithful were on their knees begging for Domi to dress in Sedona Red, but the front office forcefully hesitated using last season as a wash to rebuild their roster.
In the meantime, Domi made sure the Coyotes were missing a player like him. Just a player or two short of making the cut last season, he recorded 32 goals and 102 points in 57 games with the OHL’s London Knights. Near the end of last season with so many players leaving the team to rebuild could have made way for Domi to at the very least get a sense of adjusting soundly to the league. Instead, Domi sees this as a blessing in disguise.
“[The Coyotes] got a great core group of guys there,” Domi said in a radio interview with SportsNet. “There’s going to be a bunch of us young guys trying to crack the lineup, so it’s going to be fun and it should be pretty competitive.”
Arizona at the end of the day perfectly built around their top prospect. Keeping players happy has been one of their main focal points, and bringing in talented youth and familiar faces players know like Anthony DuClair are hoping this team can build a strong sense of chemistry.
There’s guys like Strome and the list goes on with the prospects we have and the guys who will be a big part of the organization moving forward,” Domi said. “Hopefully we can all get together on the same team one day and bring the Cup to the desert.”
Bringing the cup could very well still be a far stretch to Arizona, but one thing the Coyotes have been frustrated with has been coming close of being in the top 8. In two of the last three seasons the Coyotes have been very inconsistent, and it showed near the end of the season where their top scorers would go ice cold. It would eventually cost them one of the final playoff spots. This not puts a lot of pressure on head coach Dave Tippett, who is well known of strengthening young talent and blending it with solid veterans.
Adding Domi to the mix will bring back a lot of excitement for hockey. And with a lot of rebuilding this team has done, this could very well be a season in which the Coyotes can bury a very bleak past and provide some hope for at least a year.