Toronto Maple Leafs: Here’s to Looking at Max Domi

Max Domi #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Max Domi #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs once again left their fans frustrated this season. Now that the gaping holes have been plugged on the (sinking) ship, we can assess the new  structure with plenty of water still to bail.

Of course there’s always the chance the ship gets tweaked or shined up – more sandpaper on the blueline and center-depth would be nice. Problem is, with the Toronto Maple Leafs snug against the cap it’s got to be dollar in, dollar out.

Plus, if any move is to be made, there has to be some upside to it otherwise it’s just moving deck chairs around. Meaning a calculated risk is necessary.

Never any easy task, but you can count on Kyle Dubas to look out with a keen eye on making connections work. Rumor has it that the Columbus Blue Jacket are trying to off-load Max Domi – who has plenty of connections to the Leafs – and that’s worth looking into.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Max Domi

Apart two years in age, Mitch and Max never got to play together on a junior Team Canada. But they did get to team up – opposite-wing line mates – in the OHL with the London Knights for two full seasons from 2013-15 (with Arizona Coyotes Christian Dvorak as their center).

"2013-14  London Knights                   2014-15  London Knights gp          g          a          p          +-            gp          g          a          p          +-Max Domi              61         34       59        93        24           57         32       70       102      24Mitch Marner       64         13       46        59        38           63         44       82       126      36"


The chemistry and familiarity is no doubt. But would that still translate today? Only one way to find out.

Trade Implications 

With one season remaining on Domi’s contract – $6 M due in salary with a $5.3 M cap hit – Kyle Dubas, hmm, Brandon Pridham – could make this work. And Alexander Kerfoot and his $2.7 M salary with $3.5 M of cap would be the prime candidate to be shipped the other way.

The Blue Jackets would need to eat at least $1 M of Max Domi’s cap – and they would still come out a couple million ahead. For a similar player in Kerfoot, they would also be receiving an additional year of his team-friendly contract. To a lower-market team like Columbus, that’s a great move. Surely, they’ll need to throw in a draft pick or two to whet Dubas’ appetite. (stats:

The Upside 

Would Marner and Domi recapture their former magic as line mates? Maybe

Would Domi be as effective – give or take – as Kerfoot playing the wing? Likely

Could Domi be a more reliable third-line center than Kerfoot? Maybe

If Domi could center Marner that would free up Tavares to center a 2 a/b line and that’s enticing when you have Matthews as your #1, Kampf as a strong #4, and Spezza, Engvall, and Brooks to round out the depth at center.

The Big Issue

Like Kerfoot, Domi is somewhat of a middling center, probably better off playing the wing, but he does have more experience and has shown more consistency at center than Kerfoot has.

The Toronto Maple Leafs showed lack of center-depth back when Tavares went down versus Montreal in the playoffs. That much is clear. So, they went out and got David Kampf – but surely that can’t be all they do. They need to do a bit more (actually, they need to do a lot more, but I’ll take what I can get). And I think Max Domi can provide just that. The Leafs need to get stronger down the middle and there’s a good chance Domi can help with that.

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If the history of Mitch and Max is not enough to pique interest, perhaps Dubas should look to their junior center line mate Christian Dvorak of the Arizona Coyotes (cap hit of $4.45 M until 2024-25  – but $5.075, $3,450, $5,725, and $5,750 M due in salary). Definitely an upgrade at center, and worth more than just Kerfoot – much more if cap retention is involved.