CRAIG MORGAN – http://arizonasports.com
Coyotes general manager John Chayka said Friday that forward Max Domi is still a core piece of the Coyotes’ future.
“I think you have to evaluate anyone’s season based on the entirety, not segmentally,” Chayka said. “We know that young players have ups and downs, and it’s how these players manage the downs that ultimately determine their success or failure. I think the end of the season showed what Max is capable of and he showed a lot of resiliency.”
Domi had three goals and 18 assists through the first four months of the season, but he had six goals and 18 assists over the final two months, plus one week in April. He had four goals and 18 points in his final 20 games. Domi’s 36 assists were a career high.
“You can sit here and make excuses or find reasons why that happened but I’m not really the type to do that,” said Domi, who wasn’t as impressed with his finish as others. “There’s a mental side to that where you can think ‘OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad’ but when you hold yourself to a high standard and your coaches and teammates hold you to a high standard, it’s tough to take that much of a positive out of this year.
“I wasn’t good by any means all year. I’ve got to find a way to both accept that and work extremely hard this summer to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
When pressed, Domi admitted that the finish gave him something to build on for next season.
“The last 15 to 20 games, I felt like I could make plays again; the confidence was there,” he said. “I don’t know where it was the whole rest of the year but it came back so that was a positive because I was getting a little worried there.”
Domi will become a restricted free agent on July 1. With a range of outcomes over his first three seasons, contract negotiations with Domi’s agent Pat Brisson will be among the more interesting team storylines this summer.
“Now that the season has ended, we have engaged in preliminary discussions with his agent,” Chayka said. “We have had good dialogue so far.”
Domi said he hasn’t given much thought to the talks.
“My old man (former NHL player Tie Domi) always said ‘no matter what is going on around you, whether it’s issues with whoever or you’re not playing well or it’s a contract, you just focus on playing well every single night.’
“I guess it’s time to start thinking about the contract because there are no games left.”