Max Domi is back on the ice for the Arizona Coyotes. There couldn’t be a much more welcome sight.
There’s only one current All-Star caliber forward on the Arizona Coyotes roster.
His name is Max Domi. He’s been missed.
Earlier this season he was well on his way towards a 60-point season, even without scoring goals himself.
Prior to his injury his pace trailed off a bit, but it’s safe to say the team functions much better in the offensive zone with him in the lineup.
His speed creates problems for the opposition. He’s dynamic and crafty.
Most of all, he’s capable of creating opportunities for his teammates on a level that no other Coyote can, and that includes Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Through his absence, the team struggled to score even two goals per game.
A healthy OEL, coupled with some new blood in the lineup, has seen the team begin to score goals again just as Domi made his way back into the lineup.
Now the question is can Domi help the team take it to the next level?
Through two games head coach Dave Tippett has limited Domi’s minutes to ease him back in.
He’s skated about 13 minutes in each game which is considerably less than the roughly 17 minutes he averaged prior to being injured.
While there were some flashes of brilliance, Domi also channeled demoted buddy Anthony Duclair and failed to register a shot on net in both games.
It probably wasn’t quite the return he envisioned, but the payoff is certain to be coming.
The emergence of Perlini, coupled with continued growth from players like Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun provides the Arizona Coyotes with several more options offensively than they had when Domi last played.
Domi will likely find his footing and his scoring touch in short order. If he does, the Yotes could finish this miserable season on a high note by building into next year.
With 12 points separating the Arizona Coyotes from the next closest team above them, and 10 points separating the team from Colorado in the race for last in the league standings, a few wins now won’t hurt the team’s draft position but could go a long way towards building confidence and structure for 2017-18.
In a season where nothing has gone right (unless your name is Radim Vrbata or Mike Smith), Max Domi has a chance to redeem himself from a boneheaded decision by sparking this young team to a strong finish.
He’s got the skills to get it done.
I’m sure he will.