Max Domi feels the playoffs are a realistic goal in second season with Canadiens

For the first time in his NHL career, Max Domi will enter a training camp on a team with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.

The 24-year-old Domi won’t guarantee his Montreal Canadiens will be in the post-season, but he pointed out a young roster that played well enough to challenge for a spot last season. The Canadiens chased Columbus and Carolina for a wild-card berth right down to the final weekend. They fell two points short but Domi, in Toronto for the BioSteel hockey camp, calls it “something to build on.”

Montreal went 25-12-4 at home last season but just 19-18-4 on the road. And every playoff team in the East won at least 20 road games.

“It goes to show you, every point matters, every game matters, whether its October or November, they all matter,” said Domi, who had career highs in goals (28), assists (44) and points (72) in his first season with the Canadiens. “So take advantage of it when you can. But it was fun … we had to win a little bit more. The best part is that we have a lot to build on.

“We had everyone going … everyone took a step forward as a team, and that’s all you can ask for. Unfortunately we came up a little short but we’re back now, and we gotta keep that momentum going.”

Montreal’s fate will be hinged in part to its performance in the Atlantic Division, where rivals Buffalo and Florida — two non-playoff teams last season — look to have improved in the off-season.

Domi is excited about Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was the youngest player in the NHL last season at 18 and became a fan favourite with 11 goals and 23 assists.

Montreal lost some dependable names in Andrew Shaw and Nicolas Deslauriers to trades, while Jordie Benn signed with Vancouver. But role players Nick Cousins, Ben Chariot, and Keith Kinkaid were added to the roster, while OHL scoring sensation Nick Suzuki will be try to crack the opening-night lineup.


Cole Caufield, Montreal’s first-round pick, 15th overall, is committed to the University of Wisconsin this season, but the 18-year-old was arguably the best player at the recent junior showcase tourney. His skating, shooting and playmaking are all NHL-ready.

“He’s got a knack to score goals, that’s why we drafted him,” Domi said. “All these young kids coming in … are capable of contributing, so we’re all excited about that.”

Domi is also excited about the release of his book, which chronicles his rise to NHL stardom while dealing with type-1 diabetes.

“My book’s called No Days Off and it comes out Oct. 29, and I’m super-pumped about it,” Domi said.

“It’s just a book about me, my story, living with type-1 diabetes, and trying to get to that next level. Starting in minor hockey, going to junior level, the world juniors, and pros too. The ups and downs of that, the adversity I battled, and just for kids out there living with it. Just because you have type-1 diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams.”

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Mark Zwolinski

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