Every day, more and more trade rumors are surfacing as the deadline approaches. Most recently, the Arizona Coyotes’ Max Domi has been reported as being on the market, and the Vancouver Canucks are the perfect landing spot for the young winger.
A fellow new addition to the rumors list is the Canucks’ Ben Hutton, who is the perfect asset to send back across the table to the struggling Coyotes. Both Domi and Hutton are in need of a change of scenery and both teams would vastly benefit from the addition of each player.
Teams around the league are expressing a lot of interest in both players, but Domi is the only one confirmed to be available. The Canucks are reportedly not shopping Hutton, but are listening to offers.
From an agent, "Hearing the Canucks are getting a healthy amount of calls on Ben Hutton for a trade. Vancouver not shopping him but they are certainly listening." #Canucks
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) February 6, 2018
Domi is Struggling
The Coyotes have made it clear that Domi is on the market and it didn’t take long for the vultures to start circling overhead the struggling Coyote. The 22-year-old has shown his potential and offensive gifts, but he’s also been slumping ridiculously hard this season and has reduced his trade value.
Domi is in his third NHL season — all of which have been with the dismal Coyotes. In his rookie season (2015-16), Domi found twine 18 times and helped out on another 34 in 81 games — a very impressive rookie showing for the 12th overall pick in 2013.
After that, though, it’s all been downhill for the Winnipeg, Manitoba product. In his sophomore season, Domi clocked in for only 59 games and put up a meager nine goals and 29 assists. This season, in 52 games, he’s only managed to ripple the mesh three times and assist on 19.
Following the 2015-16 season, it was believed that Domi and fellow 22-year-old, Anthony Duclair were going to be the face of the Coyotes offence. However, Duclair was recently shipped off to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Duclair trade was a big, big moment for the Coyotes franchise — their future got flipped on a dime. Now, Domi is next on the block and in desperate need of a change of scenery. The Coyotes have been in the basement of the NHL for way too long and things just aren’t working, so it’s time for an overhaul and some gutsy moves.
The Slumping Hutton
On the other side of the table is Hutton — a slumping but talented defender that the Canucks aren’t giving the look he deserves.
Much like Domi, Hutton has been on a downhill trend since his rookie season. Hutton stamped the NHL with 25 points in his first 75 games — not too shabby for a defenceman. In his next season, he dipped down to 19 points and now, in 45 games this season, he’s tacked up a disappointing six points.
He’s been subjected to questionable healthy scratches, giving seasoned veterans, who have arguably played worse, more time in the spotlight. Hutton’s development has halted and it can largely be chalked up to a lack of trust from coach Travis Green — at least this season.
Hutton has all of the tools — he’s a smooth skater, has good puck skills and can shoot reasonably well. One facet of his game that can be knocked is his hockey sense or lack thereof. It’s largely believed that a new environment and more freedom to expand could really elevate the 24-year-old’s game.
That’s where the Coyotes come in.
Does the Trade Make Sense?
Yes, it makes a lot of sense for both parties. The Coyotes are barely an NHL-capable hockey club — they’ve been in this hole for way too long and for whatever reason, they just can’t climb out of it. Granted, the Canucks haven’t been too much better over the last five seasons. Both clubs need to shake things up and the Canucks are already on the right track. The Coyotes are just starting to get the ball rolling.
Money isn’t an issue as Domi is on the final year of his entry-level contract priced at $863,000 per season and Hutton has one more season left on his two-year, $5.6 million contract.
Both Domi and Hutton are underachieving, young players that have a high ceiling. Unfortunately, their current teams aren’t great fits but I believe Domi would regain his offensive prowess on the up-and-coming Canucks and I also think that Hutton would thrive with the Desert Dogs with more ice time and trust from the coaching staff — Hutton would be transitioning from the odd-man-out to one of the defensive pillars with the Coyotes. Domi’s youth, offensive skill and grit are exactly what the Canucks are looking to add to their lineup.
Of all the trade rumors I’ve heard circling around the Canucks, this is the one that makes the most sense and is very, very possible. The Canucks and Coyotes are also established and comfortable trading partners, to put the icing on the cake.
Matt is a longtime fan, player and student of the game of hockey. Broadcast and Online Journalism student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.