Max Domi: Winning the Hearts of Habs’ Fans

This is the story of a young man who grew up playing hockey in Toronto. His father was one of the most recognized figures in hockey, playing for the Maple Leafs. He grew up in the Leafs’ dressing room and his favourite player was Mats Sundin, whom he called “uncle Mats”. This young man went on to play four years of junior hockey in one of Ontario’s hot markets, in London, where he excelled. He was also a key representative of Team Canada at the World Junior Championship and it’s in Montreal – of all places – that he was adulated. He went on to get drafted by the Arizona Coyotes and made the team straight from junior. For the first time in his young life, he was going from a hockey hotbed to… the desert. And this dog was missing something. That young man was, you guessed it, Max Domi.

We talked about him a few times, the first time when yours truly informed some disgruntled Habs’ fans that Max would become a fan favourite in Montreal and would make them forget Alex Galchenyuk, whom he was traded for. The second time was a month into the season when we started seeing the the effect of the DOMInator on the Montreal Canadiens and on their fans. There is no denying that this guy loves the big stage.

Domi is a very charismatic individual and even at 24, he is one of the Media’s favourite players to interview… because of his never ending smile and his heartfelt sincerity. When he affirmed being thrilled to be traded to Montreal, he meant it. He even got his father Tie Domi, a Leafs’ legend, to wear the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge a few times, angering somewhat fans in Toronto… a bonus for Habs’ fans! Here’s a recent interview Domi gave Tim & Sid of Sportsnet. Feel the sincerity, the true pride that he has to wear the Canadiens’ jersey, and what he would suggest to any player, or free agents.

Diabetes

Max’s book is called
Max Domi: No Days Off

It’s no secret that Max was diagnosed, years ago, with type 1 diabetes, something that he has to live with on a daily basis. The first thing that he asked the doctor back then was if he could continue to play hockey. The doctor informed him that former Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Bobby Clarke had a long and successful career while diagnosed with the same illness. Meeting Clarke was a turning point in young Domi’s life.

Max wrote a book about it and it’s about to hit the shelves. It’s called Max Domi: No Days Off. He wrote this book in hope to be, for kids affected by the illness, what Clarke was to him. He wants to send the message that while serious and life altering, this is not something that will prevent them from reaching their dreams, no matter what they are.

Contract

Domi is starting the last year of a two-year contract that he signed with the Canadiens immediately after he was traded to them. Rest assured Habs’ fans that management wants to keep that guy but also, that he wants to stay in Montreal. He wears the CH colours wherever he goes, whatever he does. He has adopted the City as the City has adopted him. He will sign prior to July 1st, 2020, and will be a Montreal Canadiens for a long, long time. I am personally not concerned about it. Go Habs Go!

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Common Misconception About Buried Contracts

As July is well underway and August is peaking around the corner, contract signatures are just slowly trickling in. Or so it seems after a busy first day, first week of free agents, both restricted and unrestricted, putting pen to paper with NHL teams. And as teams sign contracts, their salary cap hit, their payroll is climbing. For teams who can spend to the the upper limit, it has been set to $81.5 million for next season while no teams can have a combined cap hit below the $60.2 million mark.

Fans and media alike love to keep track of their favourite team’s cap situation and thankfully for them, there’s an amazing website which allows them to have this information at their fingertips. And that is only one of the tools CapFriendly.com provides professional journalists, bloggers and fans a solution to this ever complex beast: the calculations and details of everyone’s contract as well as the impact on their respective teams and other players in the league.

Because of its complexity, mistakes or misconceptions are rather frequent. One that we’ve been reading and hearing a lot lately is how much cap space teams still have available and how they can address their issues. It seems like more than a few people think that by sending a player down to the AHL, his salary disappears from his team’s cap hit. Not so fast… But before we get into that, here are a few different important terms to understand.

One-way contracts

Means that the player will be making the same salary if he plays either in the NHL or in the AHL.

Two-way contracts

Means that the player will be making a certain amount in the NHL and a lesser amount if he’s sent down.

No-Movement Clause

Player protection as the team cannot trade them or send them to the AHL (or placed on waivers) without their consent. While the player’s contract is not protected against a buy-out, teams must protect them for the expansion Draft.

No-Trade Clause

Self-explanatory, teams can’t trade him but they can send him down, put him on waivers. Teams can, but don’t have to protect those players for the expansion Draft.

Limited No-Trade Clause

Like a NTC, but has it’s limitations already negotiated and agreed to. Example, a player can have, for limitation, that he has to submit a list of a pre-agreed number of teams he cannot be traded to. He can be traded to the other teams.

Buried Contract

Sending a player down to save cap space has been, in the past, a way for teams to fix their contractual mistakes. It’s called burying a contract and in order when richer teams were “burying” their unproductive big salaries in the AHL to clear cap space. The New York Rangers did it with Wade Redden and the Montreal Canadiens did it with Scott Gomez. Many teams simply cannot afford to bury contracts so it was an unfair practice.

Karl Alzner?

But wait. Teams can no longer do it as the NHL changed the rules. Teams no longer receive full cap relief when a player on a one-way NHL contract is sent to the AHL or loaned to a team in another professional league. The cap hit relief is equal to the minimum salary for that particular season plus $375,000. So here’s the breakdown per season:

  • 2019-20: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
  • 2020-21: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
  • 2021-22: $750,000 + $375,000 = $1,125,000

This is what it would look like for two often mentioned Canadiens’ players:

2019-20 Cap HitSavingsHabs’ Cap Hit
Dale Weise$2.35M$1.o75M=$1.275M
Karl Alzner$4.625M$1.075M=$3.55M
TOTAL:$6.975M$2.15M=$4.825M

If both are sent down, the Habs would only save $2.15 million of the $6.975 million combined cap hit between the two. This means that the Canadiens would still have $4.825 million counting against their cap even when they’re in the AHL. The Canadiens’ cap situation counts 24 players with just over $4.8 million available. Have fun. Send players down all you want but if you’re doing it for cap reasons, don’t forget the buried contract rule.

So folks, when you try counting the savings when deciding who to send down, take that into consideration. The most a team will save in 2019-20 will be $1.075 million per player. Go Habs Go!