Domi, 18, and Lessio, 20, are expected to play in the team’s preseason finale vs. San Jose on Friday night at Jobing.com Arena. The team’s roster, currently at 25, must be reduced to 23 by Monday at 2 p.m. (AZ time).
Clearly the Coyotes are impressed by the young forwards and are not letting their age factor too much into the roster-shaping process.
“I don’t look at them as teenagers, I look at them as players, and (I look at) what gives us the best chance to win,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
The Coyotes selected Domi just last June with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He’s played well in the preseason games and shown a comfort level beyond his years.
Tippett said if Domi makes the roster it’s going to be because he and General Manager Don Maloney believe Domi can contribute significantly, i.e., they don’t want him playing minimal minutes on the fourth line and being in and out of the lineup. Should Domi not make the roster he would be sent back to his junior team – the London Knights.
“If he’s going to play on our team we have to feel like he’s going to come in and contribute and not just hope he can do it,” Tippett said.
Lessio, whom the Coyotes selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, has impressed team management at camp with relentless forechecking, a willingness to play while injured, and a physical presence.
“Lucas is a strong kid and he’s had a good summer,” Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said before camp started. “He’s a real direct player. He gets pucks behind the defense and then he goes to the net.”
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Wednesday night at Calgary, flashed a gaping smile to reporters on Thursday.
Michalek lost three top teeth iafter being hit in the mouth with a stick in the preseason opener vs. Los Angeles on Sept. 15.
“How’s your mouth?” a reported asked him on Thursday.
“It’s been better but it's OK,” Michalek said. “It is what it is. It’s part of the game and it’s behind me and I don’t have any issues now.”
Injured defenseman Rostislav Klesla rode a stationary bike at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday.
“He looked good today,” Tippett said. “Tomorrow is the next step - with a little more exertion. He’s moving in the right direction.”
Klesla hasn’t skated since being taken off the ice on a stretcher during the team’s first preseason game on Sept. 15.
The Coyotes' top affiliate, the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, announced Thursday they will play the entire home portion of their 2013-14 schedule at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.
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