The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Not Re-Sign Max Domi or Tyler Bertuzzi Long-Term

Mar 9, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Max Domi (11) takes a shot on the
Mar 9, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Max Domi (11) takes a shot on the / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

After terrible starts to their Toronto Maple Leafs careers, both Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi are playing much better lately.

To clarify, Max Domi is living up to his reputation as an offensive but one-dimensional player, while Tyler Bertuzzi has been playing great all season long and is only now seeming to move past the unlucky results he was getting.

Both players are giving the Leafs more or less what they expected when they signed them last summer.

But re-signing them is going to be problematic.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Can't Give Out Long-Term Deals to 30 Year-Olds

The thing that makes Domi and Bertuzzi such good signings is that they are signed for only a signle year, giving the Leafs a ton of flexibility in the off-season.

If each player was to re-up at the same price for another single season, that would be perfectly acceptable.

But otherwise it's a bad idea.

Domi is an elite passer, but he's a below average NHL shooter and he's not NHL quality without the puck. His Expected Goals Percentage is 48% which means that without luck as a factor, he loses his minutes.

He also makes it hard for the coach to ice a balanced lineup because he mostly needs extreme sheltering to be effective. At 29, he isn't going to get any better, so signing him means you are now committed to paying money and using a roster spot that could otherwise go to a younger, cheaper player.

Matthews Knies, Nick Robertson, Pontus Holmber, Easton Cowen and Frazer Minten can all probably match Domi's overall contributions next year and they can do it much cheaper. The money could then be syphoned into paying a star player and making the team better by using its' cap money in a smarter way.

Name-brand non-stars are the most expensive NHL players because they return the least amount of value per dollar out of all NHL players. Domi is exhibit A of this type of player.

Tyler Bertuzzi is better than Domi, and he's only a week older. He warrants a bigger investment than Domi does, but he comes with risk as well. His playing style typically does not age well and he's not quite a star, even if he's generally a really effective player.

I would be very careful about big money and multiple years to Bertuzzi, who could easily become a David Clarkson type debacle.

Re-signing both players to a one-year deal with a small raise would be the optimal scenario, but if they are not amendable to that, the better thing to do is go back to the UFA market and sign players with upside who have motivation to sign a one-year deal - just like Domi and Bertuzzi last year.

Both players are helping the Toronto Maple Leafs right now, and though Domi remains one of the most overrated players in NHL history, he can help a team when utilized properly. Neither player should get a long-term deal because signing 30 year-olds to expensive long-term deals is almost always a bad decision.


For every Zach Hyman there are 100 David Clarksons.