Columbus Blue Jackets: Max Domi brings some much-needed excitement

The Columbus Blue Jackets better be ready for everything Maxi Domi brings to the table.

When news broke that the Columbus Blue Jackets traded away Josh Anderson for hotshot offensive center Max Domi and a third-round pick, it turned quite a few heads in the Metropolitan Division.

Sure Anderson’s 2019-20 season was underwhelming, having only scored a single goal in 26 games of action, but that was mostly to do with a posterior labral tear in his left shoulder that required surgery and landed the right-hander on IR. Clearly, that didn’t dissuade the Montreal Canadiens from acquiring the 26-year-old and signing him to a new seven-year, $38.5 million deal.

Even if Anderson never recaptures his 2018-19 greatness – scoring 27 goals and 47 points in 82 games of action – he’ still a steady, consistent two-way wing who should remain a fixture of the Canadiens’ power play for years to come.

And as for Max Domi? Well, he’s the exact opposite.

Like Anderson, Domi’s best season came in 2018-19, when he scored 28 goals and 72 points in his fourth professional season. Though his numbers weren’t quite as efficient in 2019-20, his second season with Montreal, he still finished third on the Canadiens in goals and points behind Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault.

Fun fact: Domi would have finished fourth on the Blue Jackets in goals, tied for second in assists alongside Gustav Nyquist, and second in points behind only Pierre-Luc Dubois.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the 2019-20 NHL calendar year, Montreal effectively sign-and-traded Domi to Columbus to help facilitate a move for Anderson, with his return to the team very unlikely otherwise.

This move, maybe more so than any other the Blue Jackets pulled off this offseason, has the potential to bring some serious excitement to the city of Columbus.

Presumably tasked with playing center behind Dubois on Columbus’ second-line, Domi is a clear offensive upgrade over last season’s primary second-line center, Boone Jenner, and has the potential to add some fire in the middle of the line.

And for what it’s worth, after playing on the left-wing for the majority of the last two seasons in Montreal, Domi sounds pretty jazzed to play in the middle of the line, telling Jeff Svoboda of Blue, “Playing down the middle of the ice is exciting. You have the puck way more, and with speed coming through the middle and being able to distribute the puck. They have some pretty deadly goal scorers in that lineup in Columbus, and to get those guys the puck is something I’m looking forward to. On the power play as well, we have a pretty special group.”

In theory, his analysis is dead on. Not only will Domi have more opportunities to make moves, take shots, and ‘run the show’, but he’ll be able to take the Blue Jackets’ offense up a notch when they are in the power play.

Sure, some have knocked Domi for his lack of defense while others suggest that his headstrong attitude would clash with head coach John Tortorella, but if the Blue Jackets didn’t think it would work, why would they lock in the 25-year-old forward to a two-year contract and give him a raise to boot? Cleary Domi wasn’t just a throw-in part of the Josh Anderson trade, as general manager Jarmo Kekalainen had this to say on what he brings to the team,

“We got a centerman that we have been looking for in Max Domi, and he’s going to fill a hole for us that we’ve been looking to fill for a long time and are excited about him joining our club. He brings a lot of different qualities that we are looking for. He’s competitive, he’s feisty, he plays with a chip on his shoulder, he has good hockey sense, he has speed. So he’s going to bring a lot of those things into our club. He plays like a Blue Jacket.”

There’s no doubt about it, Domi is a huge personality who instantly makes the Jackets more fun to watch, and that’s something the team has been lacking for the last few years.

An active social media user with nearly half a million followers between Instagram and Twitter, Max Domi is more than happy to speak his mind and share personal aspects of his life like his dog Orion or his very open battle with Type 1 diabetes. If he can bring that sort of personality to the ice for the Columbus Blue Jackets this winter, whenever the season opens up, I’m sure he’ll fast become a fan favorite in Cowtown.