2023 NHL Free Agency, Free Agents, Maple Leafs Transactions, Max Domi, News

Maple Leafs Sign Max Domi to 1-Year Deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that should benefit from signing Max Domi to a one-year, $3 million contract as one of the top available centers this year. He has jumped around quite a bit for being 28 years old and a high draft pick back in 2013. Drafted by the Arizona Coyotes, he has spent time on six different teams, including the Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Dallas Stars.

Domi had a great return to form in 2022-23 as he put together a season similar to what he used to. Very surprisingly, he was arguably the best player on the Blackhawks last season until he was dealt at the trade deadline, as he put up 18 goals and 49 points in 60 games as their number-one center. In a season where he signed a one-year deal to hopefully bounce back and get back to top-six form, he got the opportunity and did just that, impressing a lot of teams.

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The Stars were the ones who benefited from it and picked him up at the deadline to see him take a bit of time to fit in during the regular season but make a big impact in the playoffs. He only scored two goals and seven points in 20 regular season games in Dallas, but during their run to the Western Conference Final, he scored three goals, 13 points, and added 52 penalty minutes in 19 games. In every aspect of the game last season, Domi proved that he can be trusted in a larger role again and should bring value to the Maple Leafs’ lineup.

Domi’s Fit with Maple Leafs

After consecutive seasons where Domi dipped to a middle-to-bottom-six player, he came back with a vengeance in 2022-23. Not only did he figure out how to be effective in the faceoff circle, but his feistiness and grit also didn’t go away when his scoring touch returned. For the most part, he stays healthy, which will be a big bonus for the Maple Leafs. Since his offensive numbers dipped during the regular season due to less ice time and power-play time, they will need to ensure that they can provide that for him if they want to get every bit of value out of this contract and succeed as a team (from “Depth scoring, defence corps upgrades on Brad Treliving’s Leafs to-do list”, Toronto Sun, July 1, 2023).

Max Domi Dallas Stars
Max Domi, Dallas Stars (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs lost a few key support players this offseason in Michael Bunting, Alex Kerfoot, Ryan O’Reilly, and Noel Acciari, and are on a path to getting harder to play against. Tyler Bertuzzi takes Bunting’s spot in the lineup, so expect Domi to play a similar role to Kerfoot. He could be used on the second line to load up the top-six or help the third line. He’s capable of playing wing or center, but last season proved that he is strong in the faceoff dot and could be utilized there again.

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The expectation for Domi is to help the Maple Leafs be harder to play against, wearing down opponents with his antics. The team is generally very strong during the regular season, so the playoffs are where he will have to step up his game like he did during the Stars’ run last season. Brad Treliving’s free agency might have been put into question at the start, but he has more than redeemed himself with recent signings like this one, giving the Maple Leafs a real shot to go for it this season.



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