Since losing Evander Kane to a gruesome wrist injury nearly a month ago, the Edmonton Oilers have reportedly been looking to add a player who can help replace the 30-year-old's offense, along with his physicality and edge. Unfortunately, those players are very few and far between in today’s NHL, making it a difficult task at hand for GM Ken Holland.
With that said, there is one available player in particular who could be a great fit — Blackhawks forward Max Domi. The 27-year-old signed a one-year, $3 million deal with Chicago this summer, and is likely to be moved at, or prior to, the deadline.
Though Domi’s career has been filled with highs and lows thus far, he has proven that when given the chance to play with high-end skill, he can produce. That is the case this season, as he has an impressive nine goals and 19 points while at times playing on a line with Patrick Kane. With that production, paired with the Oilers' desire to add a player like him up front, the two sides have been linked as a potential match.
Kevin Weekes, analyst and former NHL goaltender, seems to believe the fit between the two teams makes plenty of sense, and suggested just that when speaking with ESPN’s John Buccigross recently.
“Well here’s the thing, he (Domi) has impressed them, it’s been a nice fit for them in Chicago so far,” Weeks said. “There’s some thought that either he’s going to do an extension, or to your point, a contending team, a buyer, may want his services. Perhaps Edmonton.”
It is worth mentioning that Weekes isn’t the only credible insider who has mentioned Domi being on the move recently. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli also listed him in his first top 20 trade targets article that was published last month. Despite Weekes saying an extension may be a possibility, public consensus seems to suggest it’s only a matter of time before a trade occurs.
Given the wording from Weekes, it seems as though he is only speculating at this point in time, but it certainly makes sense. The Oilers are a team who entered the season with sky-high expectations, but have struggled so far with a mediocre 14-11-0 record. While there are several areas they could look to improve, they desperately need some forwards not named Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to help carry the load offensively.
Not only would bringing in Domi help the Oilers add more scoring to their lineup, it would also allow Jay Woodcroft the opportunity to rebalance his lines. The young head coach has been forced to pair McDavid and Draisaitl together as of late, something the team has tried to get away from in recent years to create more depth.
That $3-million salary shouldn't pose any issues for the Oilers and their cap situation, either.
As for where Domi would slide in, Woodcroft would have plenty of options thanks to the young forward's versatility. Throughout his 525-game career, he's proven he can play all three positions up front. With McDavid, Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all available down the middle, he would be more likely to play the wing, but could see some time at centre if Woodcroft choses to pair either of the three mentioned above together.
Regardless of where he would slot in, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would disagree with the fact Domi could help the Oilers in a big way right now. They have greatly missed Kane’s presence in the lineup over the past several weeks, and despite him skating for the first time since his injury just days ago, he is still expected to be sidelined another 2-3 months.
Safe to say, Edmonton could use a replacement for the time being, and Domi appears to be the most sensical option available.
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