Blue Jackets, Canadiens swap restricted free agents Josh Anderson, Max Domi

Originally posted on Pro Hockey Rumors | By Gavin Lee | Last updated 10/6/20

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens have found some common ground, swapping restricted free agent forwards Josh Anderson and Max Domi. The Blue Jackets will also receive a 2020 third-round selection in the trade. Both players are represented by agent Darren Ferris and will need new contracts for 2020-21.

Both Anderson and Domi have had huge success in the past for their respective teams but needed a change of scenery after some recent struggles.

In Anderson’s case, the relationship with the Blue Jackets has been strained for some time, going back to a contract negotiation in 2017 that saw him miss all of training camp. That was followed by two successful seasons, but the 26-year-old forward managed to score just a single goal in 26 games in 2019-20 while struggling with injury.

The Canadiens are obviously betting that Anderson can rebound and get back to the player who scored 27 goals in 2018-19 and looked like one of the best power forwards in the entire league. A fourth-round pick in 2012, Anderson brings size (6-3, 220 pounds) and goal scoring to a Montreal team that lacked both this past season. He’s also coming off a contract that carried a cap hit of just $1.85M and requires just a $2.1M qualifying offer (though is arbitration-eligible).

For Domi, this trade comes just a year after he scored 72 points for the Canadiens, the franchise’s third-highest total in the cap era. That incredible year was followed by a frustrating 44-point season in 2019-20, however, which saw Domi dropped to the fourth line at times. He just never seemed to find his true footing in the Montreal lineup.

He also, quite importantly, is coming off a contract that carried a $3.15M cap hit and will require a $2.9M qualifying offer. Domi is expected to be looking for a substantial raise on that number, something that the Canadiens may not have felt comfortable with as they start to transition to other young centers.

Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are the future in Montreal, meaning Domi either would have had to play in the bottom six or move to the wing. That isn’t the case in Columbus, where he can slide in as the team’s second-line center behind Pierre-Luc Dubois.

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