KINGSTON — Doug Gilmour figures he can't lose after selecting Max Domi with his first pick as general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs on Saturday.
The son of Gilmour's ex-Maple Leafs teammate Tie Domi, Max indicated he was leaning toward playing in the NCAA before the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. But if Max, selected eighth overall, does not report to Kingston, the Frontenacs could trade him and receive a compensatory first-round pick (ninth overall) next year.
The rule awarding compensatory picks for no-shows was introduced in 2008.
“I'm not looking at anything but (Domi) coming here,” said Gilmour, who gave his head coaching job to another ex-Leaf, Todd Gill, after he was promoted to GM last week.
“But if he doesn't want to come here, it's another (pick for the Frontenacs). This is compensation we need. If another team wants him, they can have him, but it's going to cost you.”
The Frontenacs forcefully denied a deal was in place before the draft to have the 5-foot-8, 180-pound centre come to Kingston, potentially scaring off other teams from taking Domi. Last month, the Indiana Ice selected Domi in the United States Hockey League Futures Draft. He would retain his U.S. college eligibility by playing in Indiana next season.
“I spoke to Tie and his ex-wife Leanne (recently) and their decision is to go elsewhere right now,” Gilmour said. “But this is junior hockey and there could be changes. If he wants to play in this league, it's kind of up to us. I'd love to have him.”
While his father was a tough guy on the ice, Max is a highly-skilled player. In 30 games with the Don Mills Flyers last season, Domi had 27 goals and 30 assists.
Gilmour is a longtime friend of Tie's and is very familiar with Max. Gilmour's sons, Jake and Tyson, who are younger than Max, also have played in the Don Mills organization.
“When I go home (to Toronto) every second weekend on a Sunday night, my son plays at 8:30 and the minor midgets play right after,” Gilmour said. “I got to see those guys play all the time. (Domi) is a good player, an unbelievable player.”
Gilmour believes Domi would have gone higher if there wasn't a chance he'd head to the NCAA.
“He's a heck of a player, as skilled a player as I've seen in this age group,” said Don Mills minor midget coach Bob Marshall.
The Barrie Colts opened the draft by selecting Sun County Panthers underage defenceman Aaron Ekblad of Belle River with the first pick. Granted exceptional player status, Ekblad was the first player cleared to enter the draft early since John Tavares went first to the Oshawa Generals in 2005.
Toronto Marlboros defenceman Jordan Subban, younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, became the third member of his family to go to Belleville when the Bulls selected him fifth (fellow brother Malcolm is a Bulls goalie).