The Maple Leafs have signed Max Domi to a four-year contract extension worth an annual average of $3.75 million per season ($15 million total). 

After the Leafs acquired Chris Tanev’s rights, we speculated that understanding where that deal may settle in within their overall cap structure would likely help the Leafs go back to at least one of Domi or Tyler Bertuzzi and try to sign them. A Tanev deal has not been announced, but it’s likely the Leafs have a good understanding of how it may settle in and are now moving forward on other priorities as a result.

For Domi, it’s the longest term of his career and a modest raise on the $3 million he made last season. Even though he technically produced less this season than the one that earned him that contract (47 points versus 56 split between Chicago and Dallas), a raise of some kind was always likely to be the case given the rising cap and Domi continuing to demonstrate that he is a 45+ point player. AFP Analytics, for example, projected his salary at roughly $3.6 million per season on a two-year deal.

In terms of the contract itself, it’s fair to question why Domi warranted not only a raise but also a four-year term. As noted, a raise of some kind was fair to expect, but he got the term attached to it. Was any team out there preparing to offer Domi a 4×4 deal, for example?

Domi has only once signed a contract with an AAV of over $3.2 million (2x$5.3 in Columbus in 2020), and that deal was followed by consecutive one-year, $3 million contracts. While Domi had a nice first season in Toronto, he did nothing to distinguish himself from the past Domi, who seemingly couldn’t land term the multiple times he did hit free agency.

The annual average, in the meantime, is more than fair for a player who should be able to push for 50 points, is one of the better playmakers in the entire league (he finished top 10 in primary assists — the same amount as Draisaitl and Pastrnak in far fewer minutes), has some jam, and has an ability to play center or wing, including alongside the Leafs‘ best player. Even as a limited player defensively who needs to be sheltered — particularly if he’s playing center — it’s not a bad price. Domi brings quite a bit offensively.

Even though Domi has been here for a season already, the fact that he can technically play center or left wing and that the Leafs have a new coach behind the bench make this an interesting one to sort through on the roster. The Leafs don’t have a viable 3C at the moment, and you can argue that Domi will go back to that spot, where he centered a super-sheltered scoring line between Nick Robertson and Calle Jarnkrok that outscored opponents 12-8. The coach couldn’t trust them to do much, but the line outscored opponents and produced some nice moments offensively.

Conversely, Domi played his best hockey of the season when he moved up the lineup and played alongside Matthews (and Tyler Bertuzzi). The promotion clearly went to his legs, and they outscored opponents 16-11 in 147 minutes together, tilting the ice in shot attempts and scoring chances. With Matthews as the scorer, Domi as the playmaker, and Bertuzzi as the mucker who went to the net, the pieces came together well. They also played an excellent Game 2 before injuries unraveled the Leafs’ lineup the rest of the way.

If Domi is viewed as a left winger, the Leafs are all but set there with Domi, Matthew Knies, Bobby McMann, and Pontus Holmberg signed, as well as Conor Dewar and Nick Robertson as pending RFAs. If he’s viewed as a center, the Leafs would also be set there between Matthews-Tavares-Domi-Kampf. Of course, the Leafs could make a trade at any point or further look to add to the group to clarify the picture. 

Long story short, this could go either way in terms of how Brad Treliving views the roster and what he might possibly look to add. Terry Koshan and Darren Dreger have already reported that the Leafs continue to work with Bertuzzi on an extension:

This could mean management wants to keep the Bertuzzi – Matthews – Domi line together, or that they want to play Domi at center with a hole on the wing that they will need to fill, be it internally or externally. 

They will have options either way, and the Domi contract is a palatable enough number that it doesn’t prohibit them from going in any direction they want from here. That seems to be their focus right now: giving themselves as much flexibility as possible to address the defense. In the meantime, they have retained their sixth-leading scorer from last season on a team that finished second in the league in goals.