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Max Domi Trade Looking Better Everyday For the Canadiens

The way things have been going for Max Domi, the Montreal Canadiens have to be elated with the trade they made in the offseason.

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When news broke in early October of 2020 that the Montreal Canadiens were trading Max Domi, very few were surprised. Given the clear riff between him and then head coach Claude Julien, it felt inevitable the now 26-year-old forward would be wearing a different uniform heading into the 2020-21 season. What was surprising however was the return.

The trade ended up seeing Domi and a third-round pick go to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Josh Anderson. In a sense, Anderson brought the Habs what they had been long looking for. He is a power forward who in the past showed an ability to put the puck in the net and was not afraid to drop the gloves. However, there was a major cause for concern given the fact he had managed just one goal in 26 games the season prior before suffering a season ending shoulder injury that resulted in surgery.

Josh Anderson Max Domi
Josh Anderson Max Domi

Many at the time felt that Domi was the better player, especially given Anderson’s recent struggles, which made it rather confusing why Montreal was the team to add the draft pick. Domi himself had struggled during the 2019-20 season with 17 goals and 44 points in 71 games, but set a career high 72 points just a year prior. It should be noted however that Anderson had a much more successful 2018-19 season as well, as he managed to put up a career high 27 goals and 47 points.

To make matters even more interesting, just a few days after the trade was made the Canadiens announced they had signed Anderson to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with a cap hit of $5.5 million. This seemed like a very risky move from general manager Marc Bergevin given his new acquired forward’s struggles the season prior. Many fans from around the league expected the contract could end up a disaster, while crowning the Blue Jackets the winners of this trade.

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Narrative Change

For Anderson to change Habs fans minds and win them over, he was going to need to get off to good start with his new club. Thankfully, he was able to do just that, scoring nine goals through his first 13 games of the season. Domi on the other hand struggled immensely, failing to score until his eighth game and registering just three goals and seven points through his first 27 games.

While Domi has been able to produce at a slightly better rate offensively, he has still disappointed in a major way with the Blue Jackets, as he currently has seven goals and 19 points in 46 games. To make matters even worse, he owns a plus/minus of -18. Though Anderson has slowed down since his hot start, he still has 15 goals and 22 points in 39 games, while having a plus/minus of 0.

josh Anderson Canadiens
Josh Anderson

The stats are one thing, but the way the two teams are playing has also helped change the tone around this trade. The Habs are currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division and will likely maintain that position headed into the postseason given that they are six points ahead of the fifth placed Calgary Flames. Meanwhile the Blue Jackets are struggling, especially as of late, and are seventh place in the Central Division with just a 15-22-9 record.

The Blue Jackets lost again Monday night to the Florida Panthers.

Related; Why Tortorella is Making Max Domi a Healthy Scratch vs. Panthers

Turmoil With Torts

By all accounts, Anderson has fit in quite well with Montreal. The same cannot be said about Domi in Columbus. Despite it being his first season with his new team, there were already reports that they were considering moving on from him prior to the trade deadline, and may reconsider doing so this offseason. It is clear that he is yet again struggling to mesh with another head coach, this time with John Tortorella, who has called out his play on several different occasions this year.

While the riff between the two seemed to have died down in recent weeks, it was sparked up again today when Tortorella told media Domi would be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game versus the Florida Panthers. Though Torts said he wasn’t going to get into the reasoning behind keeping Domi out of the lineup, it likely has to do with a major lack of discipline as of late, as he has recorded 14 penalty minutes in two of his last three games.

Major Win for Bergevin

To say there are many who owe Bergevin an apology for critiquing this trade right away would be an understatement. Sure, Domi may be able to turn things around in Columbus, but that doesn’t change the fact that Anderson appears to fit in with this club very well. As mentioned earlier, the Canadiens lacked a rugged, tough forward who can also put the puck in the net, and now they have just that. This move was a huge risk for the Habs given both his struggles and injury last season, but is paying off in a major way right now, and could even more so during this years Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. bigwheelpress72

    April 20, 2021 at 10:52 am

    It’s called a rift not riff.

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