Could Max Domi be an easy solution to solving the Anaheim Ducks identity crisis?
The Anaheim Ducks are in a bit of a weird place right now. For years now, since their cup year way back in days of yore, the big bad Ducks have been a fixture in the league. If you were entering their house, you knew exactly what you were getting. A heavy behind-the-net-cycle game that would place untold stress upon the netminder. Borderline big hits and the very odd temper tantrum.
While the Anaheim Ducks would take penalties, this wasn’t necessarily problematic, and could almost be said to be by design. For when the Ducks took those big penalties, more often than not they would drag the other team into their game and then stomp all over them. Hard. Almost reminiscent of the phrase “Never get into a fight with a pig. You’ll both get covered in…. mud, but the pig likes it.” Oh, boy did the Anaheim Ducks and their fans like it.
Goals would flow, fans would cheer. Who amongst us doesn’t go through the Corey Perry is a pest youtube hits every now and again? Unfortunately, the only constant in this world is that nothing stays the same. Perry got old. Recently he was moved on, but even before that, his star was waning.
The Ducks have tried a few different things over the past couple of years: They got faster. Then they got bigger. Then they tried to get faster again. Now… Well, now no one really knows what they’re doing. But one thing is for sure, the Big Bad Ducks persona that fits them best is no more.
But, time has passed and we all need to move on to become one with the now. With a global pandemic throwing a spanner in the works, the 2019-2020 season was always bound to be a bit of weird one full of change. As time moves forward and we get a little closer to the pointy end of the season, various teams will continue to fall out of favor.
With teams still hungry for success, we might start to see some movement of players. Recently we saw Kasperi Kapanen move from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Perhaps that is but the first of many dominos to fall.
One consideration that seems to be relatively unclear is the future of Max Domi in Montreal. One season removed from a 70-point season, the 25-year-old was regulated to the 4th line during the Canadien’s recent playoff loss.
Following this “demotion” of sorts, it appeared that Domi had removed all references of the Montreal team from his social media pages. His General Manager, Marc Bergevin, perhaps hasn’t helped matters by refusing to make any guarantees about the player’s future in Montreal. Likely in part due to the rise of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki.
"“He’s better suited to answer regarding his performance,” said Marc Bergevin on Max Domi. “Max has a lot of potential. I can’t speak for his future. He’s an RFA for two more years…” – Marc Bergevin"
Nonetheless, Domi appears to be on the move, and at 25-years-old, would appear to have a lot of track left to run upon. The question is what the Canadiens would ask of other teams to acquire him. Domi put up 44-points this season, in what was a big step back from his team-leading 72-points last season. While Domi is still a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, this step back will likely inhibit his ability to command too much of a raise on the $3.1 million he made this past season.
The step back in points may also lower the asking price for trade inquiries. After all, outside of last season’s 72-point effort, Domi has not scored more than 18 goals in a season and has averaged only ~45 points over the other four seasons of his career.
The upside to Domi is undeniable. 70-point players don’t come around all that often, and cannot always be found for cheap. However, Domi’s track record isn’t particularly strong enough that it would command a massive return. The Canadiens also have three very capable centers outside of Domi, thus he would seem to be surplus to needs if they are real believers in their youth movement.