After a horrendous season in 2017/18, many expect the Arizona Coyotes to make some moves to shake up the roster this summer.
They have an abundance of assets and young players they can leverage to give their team a major facelift this off-season.
An interesting name that has come up recently revolves around forward Max Domi.
Sportsnet's NHL analyst Elliotte Friedman recently said on his "31 Thoughts: Podcast that
“One of the things that I heard just around the Cup Final is that I think the Penguins have interest in him.….I believe there are teams with interest, I believe Montreal, for example, had some interest in Max Domi. I think Pittsburgh is going through some changes, and Domi is one of the guys they’re really interested in. “
As speculations suggest, Domi being linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins might have some merit, so let’s take a deeper look at this scenario.
Max Domi’s current situation with the Coyotes
Max Domi had a wonderful rookie season (18 goals, and 54 ) only to follow that with an injury-riddled sophomore year which saw his offensive numbers (nine goals, 38 points) suffer.
Many expected Domi to have a major bounce-back year in 2017/18 but he struggled to produce... for the most part. Despite suiting up for all 82 games, Domi only managed to find the net nine times all season.
He is currently a restricted free-agent and still young at 23. This puts the Coyotes in a precarious situation, as they have to decide if Domi is part of their long-term future or if it's time to trade him to fill other holes in the lineup.
Considering that, he hasn’t become a legit top-line player many expected him to be and with a huge wave of younger players (Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini, Christian Fischer, Jakob Chychrun, even Dylan Strome) needing contract extensions soon.
The real question becomes whether the Coyotes want to commit long-term money to Domi, especially with so many big contracts looming on the horizon.
Perhaps trading a high-end asset like Domi for a proven veteran might be the type of the deal the Coyotes are heavily considering. Much like we saw last summer as they brought in Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers.
Why might the Penguins want to trade for Max Domi?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have already made headline news this off-season, with rumors suggesting that they might be shopping star winger Phil Kessel.
The Penguins might be looking to revitalize their core around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, perhaps getting younger is part of the agenda and a player like Domi might fit the bill.
We have seen Pittsburgh successfully inject players (Patric Hornqvist, Jake Guentzel) in their lineup to play alongside their superstars, and gradually transform them into reliable secondary scorers.
Which might be the reason why they are interested in Domi. In that, he is a skilled player with plenty of speed who compliments the star players.
At only 23, Domi is a lot younger than Kessell (30) so the Penguins might be able to maximize Domi's ability as a scorer in the NHL.
It's hard to say if a trade involving Kessell and Domi can come to fruition, as there are several key factors that must fall into place for this to work.
For one, Kessell has an "eight-team list" that restricts him from being traded to a lot of teams around the NHL. So it remains to be seen if Arizona is a place Kessel wants to play.
The other factor may be that Kessel could be attracted to Arizona due to the close relationship he has with the Coyotes' head coach Rick Tocchet.
At the same time, Domi is still very young at 23 with plenty of potential to significantly improve. In that, the asking price likely won’t be cheap.
How much do the Penguins believe in Domi's ability to blossom will greatly influence what they are willing to give up in a trade.
Do you think Max Domi will become a Pittsburgh Penguin next year? Let us know in the comment section below.