Tie Domi was revered by fans of the teams he played for and reviled by the opposition, recording over three times as many penalty minutes (3,515) as games played (1,020) in his 16-year-plus NHL career.
His son, Max, is blazing a new trail.
Max, 18, is an electric offensive weapon. He’s a prolific goal-scorer and an equally thrilling playmaker.
In his first season in the Ontario Hockey League with the London Knights, Domi scored 21 goals and posted 28 assists (49 points) in 62 games. In his September 2011 debut, Domi potted a hat-trick and added an assist in an 8-0 London victory.
In 2012-13, Domi nearly doubled his production, pacing his team in goals, assists and scoring with 39 goals and 48 assists. His 87 points ranked tied for eighth in OHL scoring. During London’s franchise-record 25-game winning streak from Nov. 1, 2012 through the end of the calendar year, Domi posted 14 goals and 14 assists (28 points). In the OHL playoffs, he led London to a second straight championship, scoring 32 points (11g, 21a) in 21 games.
“Max is a very dynamic, explosive young player,” said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes’ director of amateur scouting. “He has a low center of gravity, and he’s a tough guy to defend because of his speed. He has great speed, and he utilizes it well.”
Domi grabbed headlines and video views a month ago with his between-the-legs saucer pass to London teammate and fellow draft prospect Bo Horvat, a textbook illustration of his dynamic abilities.
“That was an incredible play,” MacDonald said. “People who were at the game, a lot of them didn’t see it. The play happened quickly, and it was in the net. When they showed it on the video board, everyone was going, ‘Wow.’ But that’s the kind of skill he has.”
Past the midway point of the second period on the power play, Domi streaked into the offensive zone, briefly losing the puck. It was picked up by Seth Griffith, who got it back to Domi. With the puck in his skates, Domi went through his legs to finagle the puck over the defenseman’s stick and onto Horvat’s tape for the mid-air finish.
“Some might consider that a bit of a hot dog play, but it really wasn’t,” MacDonald said. “It was a play that he was forced to make to make that play. It was a big play at the time and a great pass.”
Listed at 5-foot-9, an inch below his father’s height, Domi is a tad undersized. But what the Toronto, Ontario, native lacks in height, he makes up for in speed and strength, weighing in at 185 pounds.
“I don’t consider that to be a smaller player. He’s a little shorter in stature, but he’s a powerful guy who is quick and smart,” MacDonald said. “He understands the game very well, and he competes at a high level on a consistent basis.”
Though he might not have inherited the pugilistic tendencies of his father, Max possesses just as much determination and grit. His work ethic on and off the ice is lauded, as he copes with Type 1 diabetes.
Domi compares his game to Zach Parise, who is similar in size at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds yet still a dangerous offensive threat.
The NHL’s Central Scouting ranks Domi 19th among North American skaters, a slight uptick from his 23rd midterm ranking. But, with his game-breaking offensive flair and speed, Domi could very well be off the board in the first 15 selections on draft day.
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