Get to know the newest Senators’ forward.
(The following article was written by Cameron Chaddad, be sure to follow him on Twitter @cam_chaddad).
The Senators recently signed Swiss A-League forward Chris DiDomenico to a 2 year, two-way contract from the Langnau Tigers. I personally have not seen much analysis of the move other than a basic background on the player, and with rumors swirling that he could be making his Senators debut very soon, what better time to provide diehard Sens fans like myself a more in depth look at the player than right now.
DiDomenico was originally drafted in the 2007 NHL entry draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 6th round (164th overall). In his draft year, he was coming off a 75 point season with the Saint John’s Seadogs. At the time of being drafted, he was 3rd in rookie scoring in the QMJHL. DiDomenico, at the time, was a tad undersized at 5’11”, 165 pounds; now, he is recorded as 6’1” but is still on the lighter side at 170 pounds. At the time of his drafting, according to hockeysfuture.com, he was touted as a player with tremendous hockey sense, excellent faceoff skills and a good penalty killer. However, there were some questions surrounding his skating ability. These rankings must be taken with a grain of salt but the site has a neat feature in which they predict a prospect’s probability of success and DiDomenico was given a 7 (second line forward potential) on a scale of 1-10, 1 being a borderline minor league player and 10 being a generational talent. All this to say DiDomenico was a solid B – B+ NHL prospect, so what happened?
After 5 seasons over a point a game in the QMJHL and 3 season after being drafted by the Maple Leafs, Toronto decided to give up on their investment and give him a crack at playing pro-hockey elsewhere. This opportunity came after being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 2010 along with current Sens player Viktor Stalberg and Philippe Paradis in exchange for Bill Sweatt and Kris Versteeg. DiDomenico would start the year in the AHL with the Rockford Icehogs and would bounce back and forth between the ECHL and AHL for the remainder of the season.
However, I’ll provide a bit more clarity on why Toronto gave up on their promising asset. In the 2009 QMJHL season, Guy Boucher and Chris Didomenico of the Drummondville Volatgeurs were locked in a playoff battle with the Shawinigan Cataractes. On a meaningless icing play, DiDomenico and Cataractes’ defenseman, Adam Bourque-Leblanc, were chasing down the puck and Leblanc hit DiDomenico hard into the boards after the whistle. DiDomenico would end up with a broken thigh bone in his left leg and was scheduled to miss 4-6 months as it was considered a very significant injury and it derailed his aspirations for a shot with an NHL club. DiDomenico had just signed his first pro contract with the Maple Leafs two months prior and was expected to seriously challenge for a roster spot with Toronto in the upcoming season.
DiDomenico would bounce around the AHL and ECHL for 2 seasons before deciding to pursue a pro-hockey career overseas. After spending the past 6 seasons in Switzerland and Italy, DiDomenico jumped at the chance to return to NHL action when the Senators reached out to his camp and offered him a contract. I am cautiously optimistic on what the skilled Canadian forward can do on a relatively low risk high reward contract for the Senators.
Here’s a brief video featuring some of Chris DiDomenico’s career highlights.