The two teams seemed destined to make a trade…
With the aforementioned exodus of players in 2019, the Blue Jackets played the 2019-20 season without much offensive firepower at all. We thought we had a true #1 center in Pierre-Luc Dubois (that’s an article on its own); but what the club really needed was a #2 guy with some offensive firepower to play behind him. Enter Max Domi.
Originally Arizona’s 1st round pick (#12 overall) at the 2013 NHL Draft, Domi was a prominent scorer in junior from the time he hit the ice. Over 4 seasons in the OHL, he played in 244 games, scoring 126 goals and 331 points, while adding 275 minutes in penalties. The son of former NHL enforcer Tie Domi, Max was raised with an NHL pedigree, spending a lot of time around the Toronto Maple Leafs as a kid.
He was pretty productive in his first three seasons in Arizona, scoring 36 goals and 135 points in 222 games played. But his play was declining after an impressive rookie season, leaving the Coyotes to wonder what they actually had. Montreal saw the potential here and swapped struggling former third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk for Domi in 2018; immediately signing him to a two-year contract extension.
His first season in Montreal was far and away his best in the NHL. Domi played in all 82 games, scoring 28 goals and 72 points for the Canadiens, along with 80 penalty minutes and a +20 rating. But he struggled in his second season for the Habs, finding himself moved up and down the lineup, scoring just 17 goals and 44 points in 71 games.
Another change of scenery seemed in order for Max, who wanted to play center in Montreal, but wasn’t getting the opportunity any longer. The Canadiens were long thought to be interested in Josh Anderson. They wanted a power forward, they had an extra center … the Blue Jackets had the power forward, but they wanted a center. The two teams seemed destined to make a trade, and that’s exactly what happened.