Max Domi, Tie Domi, Toronto Maple Leafs

Max Domi’s Resurgence with Maple Leafs Could Lead to Extension

If Toronto Maple Leafs fans had been asked what they thought of the chances of or the team’s desire to re-sign Max Domi to an extension as recently as the end of February, their answers might have been ambivalent. There were things he brought as a bottom-six forward that made his signing smart—if the price was right.

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Yet, Domi started the season so slowly that making his re-signing a big deal was tough. Really, could one of the youngsters be a cheaper and better fit for the team?

Over the Past Six Weeks, Domi Has Shown His Value to the Maple Leafs

Over the past six weeks, fans’ opinions have likely changed. Domi has won them over with his recent playmaking. Most knew he had one great season with the Montreal Canadiens in 2018-19. However, that season appeared to be an outlier. After signing a two-year deal worth a shade over $5 million with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2020, Domi failed to live up to that deal. He found himself shipped around from Carolina to Chicago and then to Dallas. 

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Last summer he signed a one-year $3 million show-me deal with the Maple Leafs. For most of this season, he didn’t show much of anything. Then Mitch Marner got hurt. Domi suddenly found himself promoted to the top line alongside Auston Matthews. 

Domi has made the most of that opportunity and has shown that he can be a playmaker who can get the puck to Matthews in the right places. He also brings some of the “snot” (we hate that word) that new general manager (GM) Brad Treliving was looking for. 

Max Domi Toronto Maple Leafs
Max Domi, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

While he’s not the fighter his father Tie was, he is not afraid to drop the gloves if the situation demands it. He can handle himself if it comes to that (it must be in the genes). He also has some “attitude” to his game, something the Maple Leafs can use more of. On top of that, while he was born in Winnipeg, he’s as much a local kid as his legend of a father was with the team. There’s a deep family connection in Toronto, and young Max seems to fit well here.  

Given His Playmaking Abilities, Re-Signing Domi Should Be a No-Brainer

Because of his recent play, it would be a surprise if there weren’t a desire on behalf of the Maple Leafs to sign an extension with Domi. If that is true, what could an extension look like? 

The biggest hurdle would be the lack of cap space the Maple Leafs will have for the 2024-25 season. With the new deals for Matthews and William Nylander kicking in and one year remaining on Marner and John Tavares’ deals, the Maple Leafs will be tight to the cap for one season. With the salary cap slated to rise by over $8 million over the next two years and Tavares either departing or playing for much less money, the cap crunch should ease a little in 2025-26. But next season is going to be tight.  

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We could see another team offering Domi more money than he’s making now over a short period, possibly two or three years. Yet, we don’t see him getting much more money over a longer period. The Maple Leafs might be able to risk a longer deal for less money per season. However, we can’t see Domi getting close to $5 million per season, similar to his previous deal. 

Max Domi, Like His Father Tie, Is at Home in Toronto

However, we could see something in the $4 million range for two or three seasons. The tipping point, however, is that Domi likely wants to stay home in Toronto. As a result, the team could offer him $3 million over four or five years. It would be a bit of a gamble; however, it would not be something they could not find their way out of if it went south. 

Max Domi Tie Domi
Tie Domi poses with his son Max Domi before the Phoenix Coyotes selected Max during the 2013 NHL Draft
(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Max would be 34 at the end of the deal. His father, Tie Domi, was an effective player into his mid-30s and played a more physical game than Max. There is no reason to think Max Domi’s game would fall off that much at that age. He seems like a perfect match with this Toronto team.

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]

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