Montreal Canadiens are keeping Max Domi down by not bringing him up

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 12: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 12: Max Domi #13 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Max Domi has been getting the ice time but hasn’t seen much with Dale Weise by his side, and it’s inhibiting his play with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens have been running the “all four lines” strategy starting in training camp when Max Domi joined the team. It’s continued throughout their exhibition game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and their qualifying series win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. And although Domi’s performance may fit the eye test, the underlying numbers are concerning and speak to his lack of actual production in the playoffs.

Domi hasn’t been a dominating shot generator at 5v5 since joining the Montreal Canadiens. That’s not to say that he himself doesn’t get shots on net because we know that isn’t true. He’s put up at least 175 shots in his two years on the Habs, and that shooting led to his breakout year in 2019.

The difference is Domi has never outshot his opponents at 5v5 per his RelCF/60 at 5v5. In his first year, it was at -3.47 and improved slightly to a -3.29. What this means is Domi is getting approximately three fewer pucks than the opposition when he’s on the ice. Again, it’s not a glaring issue considering that 72-point season, but the luck likely set in this season and was probably why he appeared to not be as effective.

What is concerning is that same stat in this year’s playoffs. Domi is now at a -14.28.

It’s always important to incorporate sample size, so yes, we have to make a note of the fact that we’re only talking about five games. But even still, that’s a massive difference. The only reassuring number is that his shot suppression (RelCA/60) at 5v5 is the lowest it’s ever been at 1.23.

This all leads to something Habs fans have been screaming for days:

Max Domi must be taken off that fourth line. 

The Habs have changed it up a bit subbing in Alex Belzile in for Jordan Weal, but Dale Weise has been attached to Domi’s hip, and it shows. Let’s take last game, for example.

According to Dobber’s Frozen Tools, Domi played with Belzile and Weise 11.54% of the time at even strength before Claude Julien began to mix things up. Domi was performing at a 38.46 CF% when with Weise, and it jumped up to 71.43 when he was separated from him. That’s a significant difference.

He only managed one shot when with Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but looking at the line, Domi was a lot more dangerous when playing with those who can match his skill set. And that’s no disrespect to Weise as a player, that’s just the reality. Weise has been able to play with and perform with skilled players in the past, but right now, it’s not working.

With the Philadelphia Flyers and their system, secondary and tertiary scoring is going to be key, especially with Tomas Tatar on his cold streak. The Montreal Canadiens need to get the depth going, and taking Domi off of that fourth line is a good way to start.

Next. The Hockey World Unites for Claude Julie. dark

The Habs can continue to use him in the same role as more of a shot suppressor, but at that point, you’re only getting a half-full glass of all Domi can be in a setting like this.

Acknowledgements: Advanced stats from Natural Stat Trick.