The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the middle of quite a few trade rumors as the trade deadline approaches. They’ve been going through what general manager Jarmo Kekalainen calls a “reload,” and with them currently sitting eleven points behind the Washington Capitals with 22 games remaining, it appears likely they’ll be selling off some players within the next week. One of the biggest names in the middle of trade talks has been Max Domi, a player who could come back to haunt the team if he’s traded.
The Argument for a Trade
Domi is in the final year of his contract with unrestricted free agent status afterward, which makes him a prime trade candidate since he could leave the team for nothing in just a few months.
Although his point production has been decent, the team was hoping he’d be able to duplicate his 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens, which he hasn’t even come close to accomplishing. He hasn’t been able to regularly crack the top-six, and Kekalainen reportedly stated on radio that he has been inconsistent this season as well.
Domi has already become a bit of a journeyman, with the Blue Jackets being the third team of his career, and he’s only in his seventh professional season. As a result, it makes it a bit easier to throw him into trade rumors since he doesn’t have many ties with Columbus, such as them drafting him or him spending his entire, or even a major part of, his NHL career with them. He’s simply a player who was acquired in a trade less than two years ago in many peoples’ eyes. The Blue Jackets may feel similarly, however trading him, or certainly letting him leave in free agency, will be something they will regret.
Why the Blue Jackets Shouldn’t Trade Domi
The Blue Jackets don’t have many players who bring energy to every shift. There are a few who do, most notably Boone Jenner and Sean Kuraly. However, the most notable energy player would certainly be Domi. He is constantly making plays, throwing the body, or standing up for himself and his teammates. He’s not an enforcer by any means, but he’s certainly a physical presence despite his smaller stature. He’s one of the toughest players on the Blue Jackets, and although the team is moving away from the style that they became known for under former head coach John Tortorella, having players like Domi is important when it comes to the postseason.
Adding to that, having a player like Domi on a team full of young skilled players such as Cole Sillinger, Yegor Chinakhov, Kent Johnson in the near future, and even Patrik Laine will help keep the opposition from targeting those star players. This isn’t nearly as big of an issue as it used to be, considering the days of the enforcers are mostly in the past, but it never hurts to have a dissuading presence on the bench.
Domi’s far more than a physical presence as well. He contributes points fairly regularly, and although his goal-scoring is certainly inconsistent, he’s on the scoresheet most nights. He may not be the first-line guy Kekalainen envisioned when he traded Josh Anderson for him, but he is a bona fide middle-six caliber NHL player. The only concern the team should have would be the contract details, as he’s a bit expensive in his current role. But considering their abundance of cap space, he’s worth holding onto if it’s possible.
When the Blue Jackets have a bad game, and nobody seems to be getting anything going, Max Domi typically stands out as someone who is trying to do so. He’s a spark plug who brings energy into the team every time he steps on the ice, and he consistently makes an impact. The Blue Jackets should do anything in their power to keep him, as long as they can get him at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, it seems as though that ship has sailed at this point, and they’ll have to live to regret letting him leave. Although they may not know it now, he’s a player the team will certainly miss once he moves on.
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William Espy is a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus. He has been writing about hockey since 2016 on various platforms. He currently covers the Columbus Blue Jackets but had a previous stint covering the Calgary Flames.