Reports of a long-term extension for Max Domi with the Leafs
Zuma Press  

Reports of a long-term extension for Max Domi with the Leafs

Huh!?!? He hasn't even played a game for them yet!



In case you missed the news this past weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs inked veteran forward Max Domi to a one year contract worth $3 million.

It was a somewhat surprising announcement, especially given that the Leafs had signed forward Tyler Bertuzzi to a one year deal just hours prior. There were reports that Domi received multi-year offers from elsewhere in the NHL, but chose the Leafs simply because of his love for the franchise that he grew up adoring. In fact, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that Domi wants to remain with the Leafs beyond this season and even hints at a longer term deal next offseason.

"Max Domi, he wants this to be his NHL home for a long time, he wants to be a Leaf, he's got the bloodlines to be a Leaf, he'll do anything to stay a Leaf. He never wants to leave here, it's a powerful motivator and that's a major reason he's here and they wanted him."

- Elliotte Friedman

Any way you look at it, the Leafs are now absolutely loaded up front, especially on the wings, yet pretty underserved on the defensive end of things.

So... how does this Domi signing make any sense? Why did the Leafs go after him and why did Domi choose to sign in Toronto?

Well, for one Toronto is Domi's home. It's no secret that his father Tie Domi was a fan favourite during his time with the Leafs and that Max actually grew up in Toronto as a Leafs fan.

I mean... Exhibit A, your Honour:

They say you can never go home again, but if it says 'DOMI' on the back of your blue and white sweater, I think you get an exception. 

Secondly, there's the Shane Doan factor. Shane Doan, now an executive with the Leafs, was Domi's first captain in the NHL after he was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes back in 2013. Domi has always spoke fondly of Doan and it's clear that there's a mutual respect and admiration between the two hard nosed players. You have to imagine that Doan's role with the Leafs played a part in helping Domi make his decision.

And thirdly, Domi's addition to the lineup is a clear indication from GM Brad Treliving that he's trying to add some toughness and grit to the Leafs. Sure, no one is going to mistake Max for Tie, but Max's game has actually undergone a bit of a transition the past few seasons where he's now more of an agitator in the vein of Brad Marchand than a pure skill player. With the likes of Domi, Bertuzzi and certified tough guy Ryan Reaves all added to the Leafs' lineup this week, it's clear that Treliving felt like the team was undersized and not nearly intimidating enough in past seasons.

Source: Elliotte Friedman