The Columbus Blue Jackets season isn’t going quite as planned. In a vacuum, this record would be as predicted in preseason, but an extraordinary start was followed by the pendulum promptly swinging the other direction and sending the team sputtering down the standings. Make no mistake, in the current organizational climate, they will be sellers at the looming trade deadline. That means some pieces will be moved to bring in future assets.
Max Domi had come alive this season. He was brought to Ohio in exchange for the much-loved Josh Anderson expected to have a return to form. His first campaign with the squad was on the weaker side, as he was struggling with injuries. He came to camp this year ahead of schedule and was a force early on, with nine points through his first eight games.
However, since then, Domi has cooled quite a bit, with a goal and an assist in his last eleven games, with a minus-9 rating through that stretch. He’s been stuck on the sidelines on more than one night, hit once by the injury bug, and in COVID protocol for a total of ten games missed. He has bounced around flanking the middle-six of the lineup, bringing an energy to a lineup that at times could use more.
While he’s slowed a little, Domi does seem like a player who thrives after some sort of new start. He was hot starting his career in Arizona, then once he was traded to Montreal he had a strong start, and then this season in Columbus had a strong start to his last season before hitting the unrestricted free agent market, before cooling towards the middle of the season.
He seems like the kind of player that would explode in a new opportunity on almost any team that would be considered a buyer at the deadline. Son of NHL enforcer Tie Domi, Max brings a name brand that few other talents in the league have, which makes him a piece that many will have their eyes on. Here’s a look into three teams that would be prime candidates to take a gamble and add Domi.
Before we hop in, let’s recognize that Domi’s contract isn’t slight. His $5.3 million cap hit would likely need some salary retained or a bad contract coming the other way to be able to fit on a contender in the era of the COVID flat cap. However, Columbus’ Nick Foligno and David Savard trades at the deadline last year set the standard that they’re willing to make that move if need be and both of those moves netted the BJ’s a first-round pick. Now let’s get to it.
If Jim Rutherford were still running the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, I’d say this move would be a lock. The seemingly never-ending cup window for the Penguins seemed like it may have been closing, but after winning 15 of their last 17 games, they’re still in it.
They currently sit one spot out of the lead for the Metropolitan division and adding top talent to support their generational talents in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is far from out of the ordinary. Looking back through the years, Marian Hossa, Jerome Iginla, and most recently Jeff Carter – who has been a big part of the 2021-22 squad.