Domi’s Play On The Edge, Makes Him A Duck At Heart
Given the likely low price tag for a player who is slightly more productive than the Anaheim Ducks very own Rickard Rakell (not a stylistic comparison, just a note on each players career production rates), the Ducks should consider getting involved in some sort of trade talk at the very least. At face value, Domi would seem destined to be a Duck.
A quick skater, Domi exhibits a key attribute that GM Bob Murray seems to be looking for from his recent acquisitions. He also plays on the edge of the rules which can often lead him to be penalized heavily. Though it should be noted that he halved his penalty minutes taken this past season— perhaps in part a reason why his production also wavered.
Playing on the edge has been a trademark of the Anaheim Ducks team for over a decade. Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry, were masters of the art. Without Perry, the team has seemingly lost its identity. Domi might be a way to get that Big Bad Ducks identity back. Let’s be honest with ourselves here: we hated the penalties, but we loved how much of a pest Perry was.
Every one of misses prime-aged Perry accidentally-on-purpose falling onto every goaltender he came near. Domi doesn’t quite have the elegance to steal sticks off players or squirt water in gloves, but he does enough that Ducks fans would instantly love him. If he could score at 70-point per season pace, we might just erect a statue in his honor.
Perhaps something that Murray would also enjoy is that Domi has some versatility to his game. While a natural center who does his best work at the pivot, Domi can also make plays off of the wing. This can provide some options for the coaching staff during game time, and for the GM himself when it comes to player acquisition and team building.
It’s also worth noting that while Domi has that 70-point upside under his belt, another five years of 45-point pace would be sufficient to eclipse the Ducks current middle-6 player group.
“We prefer Max Domi at centre. His production has been decent but he’s been shooting at the net a lot less this season. He likes to make plays more than shoot on goal. We put him on the wing sometimes in the playoffs because the other centres were playing very well.” –Claude Julien
It worked somewhat for the Montreal Canadien’s coach, and could easily work here as well. The “negative” part of the Julien’s comment regarding shooting the puck is potentially one that the Ducks have heard before. Cough-Getzlaf-cough. That isn’t necessarily an issue depending on who he is partnered with.
The Anaheim Ducks, at present, don’t have a genuine sniper, though they do have some volume shooters. It would seem that someone like Jakob Silfverberg could be a good foil for Domi as he enters into the team. Silfverberg may not have the best shot in the world, but he certainly likes to get it off on net. Silfverberg also has the defensive chops to help out Domi who is not particularly strong in that area.
It is absolutely something Domi needs to improve on, but that can take time. Silfverberg provides support for him to do it. Rickard Rakell can also provide some defensive support as a two-way player. Perhaps more importantly though would be providing Rakell with a quick skater to pass him the puck. It may go some way to opening up his offensive game that has gone missing these past couple years.
Another factor the Ducks could consider is their own prospect, Benoit-Oliver Groulx. Another son of a former professional player, Groulx plays a not dissimilar game to Domi and it might be interesting to watch two balls of energy bouncing around the ice together. Groulx may have a little more defensive upside than Domi, however, Domi is the quicker skater with a perhaps higher offensive upside.
For instance, Groulx, when playing with the highly touted Filip Zadina in junior hockey, was very adept at creating defensive zone exits and passing the puck to Zadina who would enter the offensive zone with it. The Anaheim Ducks could easily see a similar scenario in the NHL with Groulz working on his defensive craft to stimy the opposition’s offense, before driving the puck to Domi who would use his speed to push the puck forward. At the very least, it’s an interesting thought to consider as the team embarks upon a new era of development.