thescore.com – Cory Wilkins
He may not be the dominant middleman Montreal Canadiens fans were hoping for, but there will be a new top center in La Belle Province this season.
Speaking with TSN 690’s Tony Marinaro on Monday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed summer acquisition Max Domi will skate at center, while last offseason’s big-ticket addition, Jonathan Drouin, will move to the wing.
“(Drouin) has been playing the wing since the beginning of camp,” Bergevin told Marinaro. “We have Max Domi playing in the middle right now …
“The first half of last year, I think (Drouin) had a hard time (at center). The second half, especially toward the end, he got better and better,” Bergevin continued. “We’re going to try Max in the middle because he did play some center in Phoenix last year. We’d like to try that for now but we know we could also put Jonathan in the middle if need be, so it just gives us more options.”
With the Arizona Coyotes last year, Domi saw a stretch of games at center midseason – his first time playing the position since age 16 – and played well defensively according to former bench boss Rick Tocchet. He appeared in all 82 games with the Coyotes a year ago, finishing the campaign with nine goals and 36 assists. However, he was less than 45 percent efficient in the faceoff dot, far behind fellow centers Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak, and Brad Richardson.
Bergevin also rattled off how he envisions the rest of his lineup fitting in at center.
“We’ve got (Phillip) Danault. There’s (Tomas) Plekanec, there’s (Matthew) Peca,” Bergevin said. “Right now we have Big Mac (Michael McCarron), but he could also play the wing. We have (Jacob) de la Rose, who can also play the wing.”
Bergevin added that top prospects Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki have been trying their hand at center in training camp as well.