In advance of his upcoming contract negotiations, Max Domi has decided to switch agents. After being represented by Pat Brisson, he is now repped by Darren Ferris of Quartexx.
The timing of the move is interesting but isn’t necessarily suspicious either. It could mean that early talks with the Canadiens about a new contract weren’t to Domi’s liking or it could have nothing to do with any early negotiations at all. (I suspect they haven’t started yet.) This isn’t necessarily the precursor to a trade even if it seems like a potential eventuality anyway with how his season went.
This is going to be somewhat of a tricky negotiation to navigate for both sides. Under Domi’s bridge deal, he had one very good season and one that wasn’t as strong. His 72-point campaign made him look like a surefire part of Montreal’s long-term core but his point total dipped to 44 this season and even when you factor in losing time to the pandemic, he was at a 51-point pace. That’s still not too shabby but it’s a significant difference nonetheless while his playoff performance left something to be desired.
Domi is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason and it’s going to be two very distinct arguments being made if it gets there. Ferris will try to push that Domi’s 2018-19 performance as the benchmark, arguing that he wasn’t in the same role this season which played a role in his dip in production. Montreal, meanwhile, will try to put him in that second centre range which is a couple of million per year lower. And of course, this flattened salary cap environment adds a whole new wrinkle as well.
One thing that is interesting with Ferris is that he is quite comfortable dragging things out. If you look at the players who held off until signing until late in training camp or early in the season, he’s associated with most of them; Mitch Marner, Josh Anderson, and Andreas Athanasiou are all his clients. If Domi wanted to avoid arbitration which is a risky strategy, he probably has the right agent for it.
An agent change happens more often than people realize and often goes unreported. It doesn’t mean it’s a precursor to anything though but we are in the offseason now and it’s the type of thing that will gather attention when there’s nothing else going on. But let’s not reach for hidden meaning here. Domi changing agents doesn’t make it any more or less likely that he’s going to be traded. It just means that someone else will be handling contract talks if he’s still with Montreal by then, nothing more, nothing less.