I still remember the feeling of disbelief when the Montreal Canadiens opened training camp with Max Domi - not Jonathan Drouin - at centre.
But it didn't take long to realize it wasn't a forced solution. It worked, and it showed it would work quite quickly. When Domi was suspended for the remainder of the pre-season, he was kind of the forgotten man when the Canadiens opened the season. He quickly reminded people of his talent, and since then has just gotten better and better to the point he is currently the best centre on the team.
All off-season the narrative was that Domi couldn't score goals. Most of his goals were empty netters, after all - and he didn't have that many to begin with.
But one thing is clear so far this season, and was very clear against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday: Domi can shoot the puck. Now, he won't shoot the 20% he is currently shooting all season, but his shot is capable of beating NHL goalies.
He has established himself as the biggest offensive threat on the team. His goals were created on the rush. He doesn't need much space or time to create opportunities, and that is the sign of a true offensive talent. The way he attacks the middle of the ice, like he did on both of his goals on Thursday is something a true centre does.
Yes, positions are often fluid in the offensive and defensive zone, but someone who can attack the middle of the ice should be a centre, and whether it was found by luck or a distinct strategic choice over the summer doesn't change the fact that he belongs at centre.
What appeared to be history repeating itself with a training camp experiment quickly became a brilliant discovery. Domi leads all Canadiens forwards in points, and is one goal off of the team lead held by Brendan Gallagher.
He may not be an elite number one centre, but he is proving that he can be - at the very least - a very good NHL centre and is taking advantage of his fresh start with his new organization.