The NHL trade deadline is now just four days away. And while trading has started to pick up across the league, all remains relatively quiet on the Washington Capitals’ front. One rumor that did surface late Wednesday night involved the Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets’ center Max Domi.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in his most recent “32 thoughts” column that Domi might be someone who is on the Capitals’ radar. Friedman also added that the Capitals continue to monitor the goaltending market.
“Someone who might be on Washington’s radar: Columbus’ Max Domi. (Marek added Boston and Colorado could be also, which fits, too.) Although Vitek Vanecek has played very well, the Capitals continue to monitor the goaltending market. They needed a strong week — five out of six points in Canada, a win over the Islanders — to convince management they righted the ship. I could see a situation where Fleury wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh, another reason he’d be leery about joining the Capitals.”
Domi, 27, was acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Josh Anderson and the 78th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft just days before the 2020 draft.
Domi has nine goals and 22 assists in 51 games played so far this season, is making $5,300,000 AAV and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
According to The Athletic, most expect Domi to generate a second or a third-round pick. If he plays as he did early in the season or in recent games, he could be a steal as a “plus” third-line player on a team that needs speed and bite.
The Capitals could be looking to fortify their center and/or left-wing depth heading into this postseason, although the plan to have rookie Connor McMichael assume the fifth center role could also be taking shape. McMichael most recently centered the Capitals third line during the absence of Lars Eller, who has been riding out his COVID quarantine in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Domi is a scrappy high-energy forward with the ability to score, although he has trended downward since relocating to Columbus. He could be a solid replacement for Carl Hagelin, who is out indefinitely with an eye injury, at left wing on the fourth line. However rookie Axel Jonsson-Fjallby has recently shown he is capable of potentially filling the Hagelin void.
Domi could also potentially fit at left-wing on the third line, a position that has been in flux for the Capitals this season. The position has been held down recently by Connor McMichael and Daniel Sprong. Domi’s ability to play at numerous positions in the bottom six could be his biggest value for the Capitals.
Domi has Type 1 Diabetes, which was diagnosed at age 12 following a hockey tournament in Detroit. He regulates his blood sugar levels using an insulin pump attached to his hip. During games, he excuses himself every 15 minutes to test his blood glucose level. In 2019, Domi and author Jim Lang published a book, No Days Off: My Life with Type 1 Diabetes and Journey to the NHL.
The Capitals approach to the center position at this year’s trade deadline will depend on what is available and what the cost will be for suitable rentals. General manager Brian MacLellan has indicated that he is less likely to sacrifice prospects or draft picks this year.
“I’d say my mindset is we’re not as aggressive as we normally are, it’d have to make sense…I’d be less inclined to trade prospects because they’re going to be playing here sooner than later,” said MacLellan back on March 2.
The Capitals and Blue Jackets go at it tonight in Columbus. The NHL trade deadline is set for 3:00 PM on Monday.
By Jon Sorensen