Canadiens Trade Domi, 3rd-Round Pick to Blue Jackets for Josh Anderson
It was a quiet draft day, until… Bergevin.
The Canadiens’ GM traded centre Max Domi and a third-round pick (78 overall) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for right-winger Josh Anderson. Domi had 44 points in 71 games this past season, and three points in the playoffs. Anderson was limited to 26 games this past season due to injury, and picked up only 4 points because he was playing hurt. The season before, Anderson had 27 goals and 47 points in a breakout year with the Blue Jackets. Domi and Anderson are both RFAs and are represented by Darren Ferris.
The ‘I Like This Trade’ Argument
Domi had a good year in 2018-19, right? 72 points isn’t bad. But 72 points was the outlier in a career of 40- and 50-point seasons. That showed in 2019-20, when he only got 44 points. Domi found himself being pushed further down the depth chart, until he was centring a fourth line with Dale Weise and Jordan Weal in the playoffs. There is simply no room for him at centre, and that’s where he wants to play. Add in a potentially contentious RFA negotiation with agent Darren “My client will play in Sweden until he gets what he wants” Ferris, and you can understand why Bergevin would want to be rid of Domi. Now, I’ll miss Domi as a person – you’ll never find a bigger beauty in the league – but he no longer fits in Montreal. Best of luck to him in Columbus, where he will fill a second-line centre role and either adore or despise John Tortorella.
Josh Anderson is a 6’3”, 222lb, scoring, right wing power forward. That noise you hear is several million Canadiens fans salivating. The Canadiens have needed a big power forward like Anderson for a long time. Do not take Anderson’s 2019-20 stats into account. When he wasn’t out of the line-up he was playing hurt. While that injury may sound concerning, rest assured no NHL GM makes a trade for an injured player without assurance that said player will be ready to go by next season. In 2018-19 Anderson scored 27 goals and 47 points, all while maintaining a similar shooting percentage to his career average. If he stays healthy he can play a huge role for the Canadiens. Meanwhile, his new contract should be cheaper than Domi’s, giving the Canadiens some more cap space. The Canadiens need size and scoring, and Anderson brings both. In short, the Canadiens traded a player who no longer fits in their line-up and a mid-round pick for a player who fills a need for them. Not bad at all.
The ‘I Hate This Trade’ Argument
How do you trade a player one year removed from a 72-point season for a guy who played 26 games last year? Max Domi was a fan favourite in Montreal, and loved playing there. He had a “down year” of 44 points. When your “down year” still nets you 44 points, you’re a good hockey player. Domi’s love for Montreal would have made the contract negotiations a lot easier, but clearly Bergevin wants to burn his bridges with anyone who likes Montreal…
Josh Anderson is good when healthy, but first he has to be healthy. He had shoulder surgery in March. Shoulders are never quite right after an injury to them. Bergevin is taking a huge gamble, and the odds aren’t great. Even if Anderson matches his production from 2018-19, he still only contributes 3 more points than Domi contributed last year. And the Canadiens gave up a 3rd-round pick as well? What a fleecing. In short, the Canadiens gave up a former 70-point centre for a winger who might net 50 points if he can stay healthy. C’est une abomination.
My Two Cents
Considering how effectively I argued both sides, you can tell I have mixed feelings about the trade. On the one hand, I love Domi and I think that he is a special player – a fighter who can score, or a scorer who can fight, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, there is no room for him in the line-up, and he seems to be a career 40-50 point guy. On the one hand, Josh Anderson is a special player who fills a need for the Canadiens. On the other hand, he can only fill that need if he stays healthy. I will miss Domi, but I don’t think he fits in Columbus’ defence-first system, and if his relationship with Claude Julien is any indication, he will butt heads with John Tortorella. Domi loves playing under the spotlight, and Columbus doesn’t offer that the way Montreal does. Nevertheless, I wish Domi good luck in Ohio, because he’s an absolute beauty who deserves the best. I look forward to seeing what Josh Anderson can bring to the Canadiens; he definitely has the potential to be a big contributor.
The NHL draft commences with the first round tonight, and we could see the Canadiens’ pick (16th overall) moved for immediate help. If the Canadiens don’t move that pick, they are in a good position to draft the best player available. I hope that player is Dylan Holloway, a centre at the University of Wisconsin. He plays with Cole Caufield and already has a college season under his belt. He’d be a great prospect for the Canadiens. After that, free agency opens on Friday at noon. Bergevin is rumoured to have interest in Wayne Simmonds, a big sniper. We’ll watch for that. What I hope does not happen is Bergevin moves Anderson for another player, rendering this article out of date. I’ll be back with a first-round recap tomorrow.
Merci Marc, tu as tradé pour un ailier qui peut marquer. C’est évidence que tu aimes lire mon blog.
Go Habs Go.
Signed, Le Bo