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Three Questions with Five For Howling

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Five For Howling was kind of enough to answer some questions ahead of tonight’s matchup with the Coyotes.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

From time to time, we like to do a little Q&A exchange with our fellow SB Nation bloggers. Today, we swapped Q’s and A’s with Brendan Porter, Managing Editor over at Five For Howling in light of tonight’s game against the Coyotes.

You can check out our responses to their questions over at their blog.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to be my favorite defenseman not on the Predators. Does OEL have what it takes to win a Norris trophy? And if so, is this the year he contends for one?

Ekman-Larsson really should get more credit than he does for being an offensive dynamo on the blue-line with the ability to defend consistently. He has the 10th most goals for since 2012 among defensemen, and four of the players above him are Norris recipients.

This season, OEL has five goals to lead all NHL defensemen, which suggests that he may surpass his career best 23 goal season in 2014-15 with a shocking amount of ease.

Is Mike Smith's time running out in Arizona? What is the future like for the goaltending position in Arizona?

Smith's contract didn't look great when he signed it. It looked even worse when he struggled following Arizona's playoff run in 2012. And it now looks downright catastrophic with his injury issues piled on top of it.

Arizona has two options in net heading into the future. The first is Louis Domingue, who had a strong rookie season last year before stumbling out of the gate this year. The second is 2015 third round pick Adin Hill, who has a .913 save percentage in three games with Arizona's AHL affiliate. At 20 years old, he has a lot to learn, but early returns have been pretty good.

What is the ceiling for Max Domi? Can he be a point per game player? A consistent 30 goal scorer? Or are there higher aspirations?

Max Domi has had some highlight reel goals in the past, but his real talent on the wing has always been as a facilitator. He has six assists this year on top of the 34 he had last year, and had 205 assists in major-junior.

The dream scenario for the Coyotes would be if Domi blossomed into a Ray Whitney or Steve Sullivan type player. He's recently lined up with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata, a duo with which Whitney recorded 77 points in his age-39 season. If Domi can do for them what Whitney did, that line should give opposing defenses fits for much of the year.