NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Max Domi could impact the right team
The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi.
It has been a fairly decent season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, all things considered.
While they are unlikely to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs (the eight teams in the Eastern Conference seem pretty set right now) they have definitely performed better than preseason expectations, have seen Patrik Laine rediscover his game, and have a pretty good long-term outlook thanks in large part to their return on the offseason’s Seth Jones trade. There are some building blocks here, and another significant one ahead with that first-round pick that originally belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks (Seth Jones trade).
As fun as their 2019 trade deadline was when they went all in as a bubble team that is unlikely to repeat itself here. They look like sellers. As they probably should be.
If you are somebody that is hopeful that they might trade Laine before the deadline, keep hoping. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen seemed adamant that is not going to happen, and there is really no need for it. Not only do they still maintain his player rights after this season as a restricted free agent, he has been the player they hoped he would when they acquired him a year ago and should put all of their focus into re-signing him long-term.
The likely candidate to go here is forward Max Domi, who seems destined to get yet another fresh start with another team.
At this point what you see with Domi is probably what you are going to get: He can play center and wing, he can provide some offense, he can make some plays with the puck, but he is not really going to make a significant impact defensively. He also carries a pretty significant salary cap number.
What the return might look like
Domi seems like a good target for a buyer that wants to add, hopes to catch lightning in a bottle, and does not want to give up a ton of key assets. His contract situation (pending unrestricted free agent, fairly sizable salary cap number for the rest of the season) and inconsistent production will probably take him out of first-round pick range, but maybe two second-rounders? A second and a prospect? That is what players like Sam Bennett and Andreas Athanasiou have gone for in recent deadlines, and that should be the area Domi’s value is in.
The most logical landing spots
• Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers
The Maple Leafs and Rangers have reportedly been linked to Domi, and he seems like he could be a fit in both places. The Rangers have a definite need for some secondary scoring in their bottom-six, while Domi might be a fit with Toronto where he could potentially breakout a little bit surrounded by some of their skill players.
The Kings are a team in that weird gray area where they are not quite ready to be major Stanley Cup contenders, but they look like a playoff team and could make a small upgrade to their roster.
Wild Card team: Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are pretty unpredictable right now because they keep playing their way back into the playoff race, but they could also trade a core player like J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser. Who really knows what Jim Rutherford and company have in mind right now. Rutherford was linked to Domi a couple of times over the years in Pittsburgh and it is difficult to imagine that has changed much. When he likes a player, he usually ends up acquiring that player at some point.
Spot I want to see just for fun: Florida Panthers
The Panthers already have one of the deepest forward groups in the league and they do not really have the available salary cap space at the moment to add a contract like Domi without some maneuvering, but Domi and Anthony Duclair had some fantastic chemistry early in their careers in Arizona. During their parts of three seasons together with the Coyotes they outscored teams 34-12 when they were on the ice together during 5-on-5 play and were by far the best duo on that roster. They looked like long-term core pieces for the Coyotes early in their career. It would be fun to see if they could recapture that.
NHL Trade Deadline prediction
There is no team in the NHL under more pressure to win than the Toronto Maple Leafs and no matter who they play in the First Round it is going to be one of the league’s elite teams (either the Tampa Bay Lightning or Florida Panthers) so they will need as much as they can get. While goalie is probably their most important need right now the options there are slim, slim, slim. So they keep going all in at forward and get Domi to add some more offense and energy to their lineup (yes, we also predicted Brandon Hagel to them as well).