Cage Match: Max Domi vs. Tomas Hertl

Rick Roos


Despite closing in on the quarter mark for the season, we’re still early enough for poolies to wonder whether players without a strong track record who are performing well are indeed for real or just having a prolonged hot stretch. Take this week’s combatants – Max Domi and Tomas Hertl. Both were formerly top prospects who are now belatedly fulfilling expectations, or at least so it seems thus far. Can we trust either or both to continue to play as well over the rest of this season, plus beyond; and which one is the better own? Cage Match is here to find out!

Career Path and Contract Status

Domi, 23, was drafted 12th overall in 2013 after an 87-point OHL campaign. Despite the struggles of the Coyotes and Domi getting better by the season in the OHL, he didn’t make his pro debut until 2015-16, but went directly to the NHL. There he impressed with 52 points, setting expectations for him to be a dominant force for a team desperately in need of scoring. Instead, Domi was only able to produce at a 53-point pace in an injury-affected 2016-17 campaign, then saw his output drop to 45 points last season. With Domi an RFA, he was flipped to Montreal in exchange for their own disappointing forward (Alex Galchenyuk). Thus far in Montreal Domi has thrived, tallying 21 points in his first 17 games and already equaling his goal total from all of last season.

Hertl, who turned 25 earlier this week, was drafted 17th overall in 2012; and after spending his age 18 season playing in the Czech elite league, he was in a Sharks uniform for 37 games of the 2013-14 campaign. Despite not even taking the ice for half the team’s games that season he opened their eyes (and those of poolies) with 25 points, including 15 goals, with five coming in one game. From there, however, it was disappointment and unfulfilled expectations, with Hertl only once in the next three seasons even reaching the point per every other game mark. But last season he started to show signs of life, with 13 points in his last 18 regular season games followed by nine points in ten playoff contests. And so far this season has been at or near the point-per-game mark.

Both players are on year one of contracts signed this offseason. Domi’s is a two-year bridge deal that will count $3.15M against the cap per campaign, while Hertl’s is a four-year deal coming in at $5.625M per campaign.

Ice Time (data in this and the other tables is current through November 12)


Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)