The Montreal Canadiens showed promising results with their appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020. However, if the team is to be taken seriously as a consistent playoff contender, further tweaks need to be made to the core.
And it can mean that Max Domi has to be moved.
The same striker the Canadians won in hopes he would succeed in the face of a new scene change in the summer of 2018. The same striker who this year’s postseason fans asked for more minutes just to release just three assists in 10 games. This, of course, came after a campaign with 17 goals and 44 points in 71 regular season games.
If you take stock of a gamer removing their team membership from their Twitter and Instagram BIOS, there might be reason to believe the Canadiens and Domi are on their way to parting.
Even before the social media switch, rumors about the 25-year-old were common. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a target if the team were to consider trading him.
General manager Marc Bergevin may not have said outright that he would put Max Domi on the chopping block, but he certainly didn’t say the striker would be guaranteed to stay in Montreal, despite mentioning some details about his restricted free agent status .
“He is better suited to respond to his performance,” said Marc Bergevin of Max Domi. “Max has a lot of potential. I cannot speak for its future. He’s an RFA for two more years … “
– Eric Engels (@EricEngels) 22nd August 2020
If Domi’s Canadians move on but also want to improve their core, it means he likely needs to be armed with a prospect and / or high draft pick. You have to give to get into this league.
The Habs Defense, backed by Shea Weber, Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry, could always use an upgrade. Even if it could dispense with Victor Mete, Xavier Ouellet or possibly the standout playoff players Brett Kulak and Ben Chiarot, it could put less pressure on Alexander Romanov when he eventually joins the squad. But the more pressing need for the Canadians is on the wing, specifically a finisher. It’s a position Domi gradually got into over the course of the postseason, but which he couldn’t make a big impression in.
The team have had a streak of frustration with a defensive Philadelphia Flyers team (whose high-profile players like Claude Giroux battled it out for a goal). Montreal had high chances of danger, but similar to most of the regular season until Ilya Kovalchuk came on board, he lacked a player who could consistently take advantage of these opportunities. It didn’t help that Brendan Gallagher was injured while Tomas Tatar showed that he isn’t the most reliable goalscorer in the playoffs.
Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau might make sense even if he’s a little older than Domi. He has at least reached his potential. Pittsburgh’s Jason Zucker has a $ 5.5 million high-cap hit, but he can put pucks on the net. These two teams are likely to make changes after disappointing playoff campaigns.
There is no guarantee that Domi’s Habs will move on. But there are possible replacements for him if Bergevin is ready to take that step. He’s in a position of strength with the prospects and draft-pick capital at his disposal, and he can take a step forward that may well take advantage of another change of scene to advance his career.