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On Sunday night, Domi’s Blue Jackets got the best of Anderson’s Canadiens by a score of 6-3. Neither player scored a goal but both were certainly noticeable in the game.
Domi seemed motivated and played the game with his usual speed. Anderson seemed just as motivated and played his usual physical style blended with his speed. He even had a breakaway but was unable to beat Joonas Korpisalo.
With the win, the Blue Jackets won consecutive games for the first time since November. With the loss, the Canadiens have now won just eight times in 44 games this season.
Checking In on the Trade
Over 15 months after the trade, the Blue Jackets and Canadiens are getting what they wanted out of the trade while realizing similar results. But is there a clear winner?
The answer is no. We won’t know who won this trade for many years. Even though Domi and Anderson are in different positions with their status and their contract situation, the story is only starting to unfold with many layers yet to go through.
Let’s start with Anderson. He’s exactly as advertised. He is the rare power forward that can play with speed and can score 20 goals or more in a season. Although this season for the Canadiens has not gone as expected, Anderson is under contract for five more seasons after this one at a cap hit of $5.5 million.
On a better Canadiens’ team in the future, he should enjoy more success. You got to see what he could do in a long playoff run. Players like him don’t come along everyday. He’s also expressed his desire to be in Montreal long-term and wanting to enjoy success there. He’s locked in. His performance will ultimately dictate how the Canadiens did with the trade.
But let’s look at the Blue Jackets’ side. It’s a different situation with Domi. His contract is up after this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Several rumors are out there indicating that the team will trade him leading up to the deadline.
This is the thing we need to focus on and why this story is only now starting to unfold. If he is traded as expected, there will be a return of some sort, perhaps prospects or draft picks. Those assets could be beneficial for a team like the Blue Jackets given where they are at in the cycle.
Domi certainly has a better game in him. But he is producing points at about the same rate as Anderson is over the course of the trade. Going into Sunday night’s game, Domi was at 42 points in 85 games while Anderson was at 40 points in 84 games.
The Wildcard is Knazko
We haven’t talked about the other part of the trade yet. The Blue Jackets also received a fourth-round pick in the deal. They drafted defenseman Samuel Knazko with that pick. Not only has Knazko signed his entry-level deal, he’s enjoyed success on the big stage. He’s been a captain for his home country of Slovakia. He’s also on the Slovakian Olympic Team that will play in Beijing.
Related: 2022 Slovakian Olympic Roster
If Knazko continues to impress like this, he could eventually make a positive impact on the Blue Jackets. Even if Domi is traded by the deadline, not only will the Blue Jackets get the return from the trade, they’ll have Knazko’s career to look forward to.
This is why the Blue Jackets will benefit from the Domi/Anderson trade for years to come. Knazko’s upside combined with the potential return in a Domi deal could positively impact the Blue Jackets. The end result will depend on what the Blue Jackets get from a trade and who they ultimately draft with any picks that come in.
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It seems clear that Anderson will be in Montreal longer than Domi will be in Columbus. From a Blue Jackets’ perspective, that doesn’t mean they lost the trade. They gave Domi a two-year deal on purpose. It was the right amount of time to determine if he was a long-term part of their future. Even if the Blue Jackets determine that a trade is for the best, they will get something in return.
If Knazko becomes a steady defenseman on the Blue Jackets for years to come, that’s a huge benefit and can be seen as a win. Then if they convert on a Domi deal and get pieces that eventually help the team, that can also be seen as a win.
In the end, a winner in the Domi for Anderson swap won’t be known for a long time. We do not know the full story and how it will all shake out.
For now though, both teams are getting production from each player. The Blue Jackets have a promising prospect that could make an impact. They also might get something good back in an eventual trade of Domi.
All of this will provide benefits for the Blue Jackets for years to come. The only question is how big the benefit ultimately will be. We won’t know the answer to that for many seasons.
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I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager. Please take note of the updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.