When the Arizona Coyotes decided to "retool" their team, GM Don Maloney wanted his team to be faster and younger.
He accomplished both those goals when he brought up rookie sensation Max Domi from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, and traded Keith Yandle to the New York Rangers to acquire Anthony Duclair.
Together they have made quite a debut in helping the Arizona Coyotes drive towards a playoff berth this season.
Domi has 13 goals, 23 assists for 36 points in 56 games, while Duclair has 16 goals, 14 assists for 30 points in 55 games.
Domi ranks third in scoring on the team, and Duclair is sixth. Together they are an offensive weapon the team lacked last season.
Their on and off ice chemistry is something to marvel. Because they played together in the World Junior Championship, they know each others' moves. It was a no-brainer to eventually put the two young rookies on the same line with a skilled veteran center like Martin Hanzal.
Max Domi (whose father Tie Domi played mostly with the Toronto Maple Leafs over a 15-year NHL career) was described by Eliteprospects.com like this:
Fairly small but a balanced skater with very good lower-body strength, all this Domi shares with his father on the ice is a name. Max Domi is a wonderful playmaker with fantastic puckhandling. He is a good skater with quick acceleration and elite top-end speed. Domi likes to stay low, which, combined with his tremendous skating and skills with the puck, compensates for his small stature. While offensive skillset enable to him to be a center, winger, playmaker or finisher, Domi needs to work on his defensive game and discipline. (Matias Strozyk, 2012)
When you add in another speedster like Duclair, the opposing teams are scratching their heads trying to ascertain how to cover them. Duclair's speed is more deceptive, while Domi's is explosive.
Here's a sample of their teamwork against the Anaheim Ducks:
The two have started a friendship off the ice as well, and were even roommates until Duclair had to move due to allergies caused by Domi's diabetic alert dog Orion.
The 60-pound yellow lab is able to detect from the aroma of Domi’s saliva that his blood sugar needs attention. Domi wears an insulin pump that has a three day supply of insulin through his back hip.
Domi was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12, and he wears an insulin pump during games so he and the team trainers can monitor his blood sugar levels.
Domi's condition has not deterred his ability and determination to become a NHL player, and he often speaks to kids in the Phoenix area about his experience while encouraging them to live their dream.
To know that the team has received such additional offensive help from the two rookies is encouraging for the future of the Arizona Coyotes.
When you add in the other swift skaters on the team like Tobias Rieder and Mikkel Boedker, the opposing defense had better be ready when lined up against the Coyotes.
One thing is certain. The future of the Arizona Coyotes is in their youth and speed. The two exemplify everything this franchise needed. A fresh face and a stellar product on the ice.
Nothing personifies that better than watching these two play in the NHL. They have been a true treat, and an excellent addition to a team who really needed their skill-set, and youthful exuberance.