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Off-Season Watch: Domi confirms talks with Leafs


While the Stanley Cup Final continues, the NHL's off-season is rapidly approaching with the NHL Draft starting on June 28 and Free Agent Frenzy on July 1. keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

Domi confirms talks with Maple Leafs

Pending unrestricted free agent Max Domi confirmed Sunday that talks are underway between his agent, Judd Moldaver, and the Toronto Maple Leafs to see if a new contract can be worked out before July 1.

“I know my agent has been talking to (general manager Brad Treliving), though I have to keep that discussion in-house,” Domi told the Toronto Sun. “Whatever happens will happen, but I’ve still enjoyed every second as a Leaf.

"I’d love to come back, it’s a special organization, a special group of guys.”

Domi inked a one-year, $3 million deal with Toronto last July, tallying nine goals and 38 assists for 47 points. He had one goal and three assists in seven playoff games.

The 29-year-old has played with seven different teams over 10 seasons in the NHL. 

Domi also confirmed to Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun that he has spoken to newly-named head coach Craig Berube, though he declined to say who made the first call.

“Yes, we’ve talked," said Domi, who also noted he's known Berube through his father, former Maple Leaf Tie Domi. "All the guys in the locker room, the staff, they’re going to benefit from having him around every single day. There’s a presence around him, he means business. 

 “Whether I’m here or not, he’s exactly what this team needs to take the next step.” 

Domi has inked a one-year contract in each of the past two off-seasons as an unrestricted free agent, both counting for for $3 million. Treliving told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun last week in The Athletic that he would like to re-sign Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi this summer. 

“But it’s got to work for them and it’s got to work for us,” Treliving said of Bertuzzi and Domi. “We’ve got, certainly, some issues that we have to address on the roster. There’s a pie and there’s only so much to go around.

“We’ve got a few guys who are up. And part of this is getting better, too. It’s not just being the same. You’re trying to get better in the process, as well. So we’ll see.”

Senators' to-do list

While outside noise continues to speculate on a possible Brady Tkachuk trade, Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia was the latest to state the Ottawa Senators have no interest in moving their captain. 

Garrioch writes that strengthening the roster around Tkachuk is the top priority for the Senators this summer. He reports the club is "working the market for a goaltender, trying to see what it could get in return for defenceman Jakob Chychrun, plus it will try to upgrade its third and fourth lines."

Garrioch also reports that the club is trying to move winger Mathieu Joseph before the draft and is expected to target veteran blueliner Chris Tanev in free agency.

The Senators have Joonas Korpisalo, signed at a $4 million cap hit, and Anton Forsberg, entering the last year of his deal at a $2.75 million cap hit, under contract for next season at goaltender. Both struggled last season, with Korpisalo finishing with a .890 save percentage in his first year after a inking a five-year contract in free agency.

Chychrun was acquired at the 2023 trade deadline. Team president and general manager Steve Staios confirmed prior to this year's deadline he was receiving calls on the 26-year-old and Chychrun said in April there's had yet to be any talk on an extension as he enters the last year of his current deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.6 million.

He posted 14 goals and 41 points in 82 games this season after finishing with two goals and five points in 12 games upon joining the Senators last year.

Joseph, 27, was involved in rumours at the beginning of this season as the Senators found themselves up against the salary cap but ultimately stayed put. He finished the year with 11 goals and 35 points in 72 games. Acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2022 trade deadline, he remains signed through the 2025-26 season at a cap hit of $2.95 million.

Cap space could once again be an issue for Ottawa this summer as, according to CapFriendly, the Senators have a projected $12.5 million in cap space with 16 players under contract for next season.

Garrioch reports that the Senators made a push for Tanev ahead of the trade deadline, but the veteran wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender. Eventually traded from the Calgary Flames to the Dallas Stars, Tanev finished this season with two goals and 19 points over 75 games. He had two assists in 19 playoff games with the Stars. 

Could Celebrini stay put?

While Macklin Celebrini appears to be the sure-fire selection for the San Jose Sharks with the first overall pick in this month's draft, the star prospect's NHL debut could be on hold.

Celebrini told reporters at the NHL scouting combine he has not ruled out a return to Boston University for a second season next year, rather than joining the Sharks. 

“There’s never really shame or there’s nothing wrong with just taking your time and just improving a little bit more,” Celebrini said. “So I feel like in those ways, another year would benefit me just to get more physically ready, and just make sure I’m very fit and strong when I try to make that jump.”

The 17-year-old could have unfinished business after ending his dominant season without finding team success this year. Boston University was eliminated in the semifinals of the Frozen Four in April and while Celebrini had four goals and eight points in five games at the World Juniors earlier this year, he went home empty-handed as Canada lost 3-2 to Czechia in the quarter-finals. 

He earned no shortage of personal accolades after posting 32 goals and 64 points in 38 games with the Terriers. Celebrini was named the recipient of the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's top NCAA men's hockey player and was named the NCAA's Hockey East player and rookie of the year.