Connect with us

Arizona Coyotes

3 Maple Leafs with Arizona connections return to face Coyotes

© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The highly-anticipated matchup between the Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs is on the horizon.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Because it is just around the corner, hockey fans from across Arizona can watch three Leafs who will get to play somewhere they have ties to: Auston Matthews, Max Domi and Matthew Knies. Former Coyote Connor Timmins is on injured reserve with mononucleosis, thus he will miss the contest.

Here is an analysis of each player and their connection to the Valley.

Auston Matthews

Feb 19, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Moving to Arizona as a kid, growing up in Scottsdale and playing youth hockey growing up, Auston Matthews began his superstar career all the way back to here in the desert.

On AAA travel teams like the Phoenix Firebirds and Arizona Bobcats, he went up against the best players in his age group (1997s) in the state.

Departing from Arizona to play junior hockey elsewhere, Matthews’ stock grew before he was selected first-overall in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Since then, he has been one of, if not the most elite goal scorers in the NHL by burying no less than 34 goals (2017-18) a season in his eight-year career.

This year has been no different as Matthews leads the league in goals (49) and added 24 assists for 73 points. Behind him by 10 goals, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is second with 39.

Max Domi

Dec 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Max Domi (11) celebrates after scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Max Domi returns to Arizona for the first time since joining the Maple Leafs on a one-year contract during the offseason.

To begin his career originally, he was a first-round (12th overall) pick by the Coyotes in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Playing three seasons (2015-18) in the desert, Domi accumulated 36 goals and 99 assists for 135 points as well as quickly becoming a fan-favorite alongside another ex Coyote, Anthony Duclair.

More known as a power-forward who brings a physical edge whenever on the ice, Domi had 111 hits and 74 blocks as a ‘Yote.

After being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk on Jun. 15, 2018, Domi has been a journeyman since.

In nine seasons, he has also appeared for the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks.

As a Leaf, Domi has five goals, 22 assists, 27 points, 43 hits and 12 blocks through 54 games.

Matthew Knies

Dec 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies (23) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Like Matthews, Phoenix native Matthew Knies competed in youth hockey in Arizona, but for the Jr. Coyotes AAA program.

As he was getting older, he finished playing at the U16 level in Scottsdale to pursue a new opportunity with the Tri-City Storm (USHL).

From there, Knies was a second-round draft pick by the Maple Leafs in 2021 and went to college at the University of Minnesota with current Coyote Logan Cooley.

With 42 points in his final season at Minnesota, Knies would wrap up his two-year stint as a Golden Gopher as he played three games and got his first NHL point at the tail end of the 2022-23 season.

Fluctuating up and down the lineup including sometimes being slated with with Matthews, Knies has 10 goals and 13 assists in 52 games in his first full year as a pro.


The Maple Leafs clash with the Coyotes Wednesday night at 8 p.m. MST.

Coyotes have shocking record against Maple Leafs heading into game

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Reporter Alec Cipollini covers the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

More in Arizona Coyotes