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Is Domi’s Desire to Play Center Problematic for New Contract With Canadiens?

Max Domi has said his desire is to play center in the NHL. How will that affect his next contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens who likely see him as a winger?

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According to Arpon Basu of The Athletic, forward Max Domi and the Montreal Canadiens might have hit a bit of a snag when it comes to one small detail of a potential new contract with the Habs.

Domi has publicly said he wants to stay in Montreal. Basu quoted the skilled forward when he wrote:

All I can really tell you is I want to be in Montreal, I want to be here, I love playing in Montreal, I love my teammates, I love this team, I love this city. So, my hope is to play here for a long time and that hasn’t changed from the time I played my first game here. So that’s that.”

That’s great news for Habs fans who’d like to see Domi return. But, Basu points to something that might make things not so black and white.

Noting that Domi has admitted he and the team have not talked about a new extension, one of the things that might be central in any future talks is where he slots in wit the Canadiens moving forward. Domi has been a winger for most of his NHL career. The Canadiens likely want him to stay a winger if they can find that top center that has eluded them for the past many years.

Domi, however, wants to be a center.

Basu said Domi wrote an over 450-word response to his question about the position when they conducted their interview and Basu wonders if that suggests Domi has given it a lot more thought than the Habs have. Domi said he’ll do whatever he’s asked, but long-term, if he wants to play center, how happy will he be if he isn’t?

Basu explains:

But if Domi’s desire to play centre is a deal-breaker for him, aside from the financial considerations he may or may not feel are in play, it would make his next contract complicated because the Canadiens could better use him on the wing with Suzuki and Kotkaniemi emerging and Danault firmly entrenched at that position for the foreseeable future.

Should the Canadiens see Domi has a center too, then a deal is likely right around the corner. But, if Domi signs as a winger, all the while hoping to become a center, how long will this experiment last?

And, if the Canadiens know Domi wants to be a pivot and that he won’t be happy as a winger, does a trade become more likely over the offseason?

Related: Oilers and Ethan Bear Looking at Bridge Deal



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