Max Domi expresses interest in playing under Craig Berube as contract negotiations heat up with Maple Leafs

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs' center Max Domi talks about playing under new head coach Craig Berube

Max Domi, currently in contract negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs, has expressed a keen interest in playing under new head coach Craig Berube. Speaking with the Toronto Sun during the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk at Seton Park in Toronto, Domi talked about his respect and admiration for Berube, known affectionately as “Chief.”

“I’ve known Chief through my dad,” Domi said. “He’s a great coach, great human being who holds guys accountable. And he’s won a Stanley Cup. He played the game the right way for a long time and was the ultimate teammate."

Max Domi confirmed that he and Berube have talked since the latter was named Sheldon Keefe’s replacement on May 17.

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

The main hurdle is Domi’s contract status beyond July 1. After a seven-team NHL journey before turning 30, Domi craves stability and a longer stint in his hometown, especially after experiencing a taste of it in the 2023-24 season, which ended in a Game 7 overtime playoff loss to Boston.

Domi found his niche on Auston Matthews’ wing, recording 27 of his 51 total points in 33 games from mid-February through Game 5 of the series. His physical presence also contributed to a career-high 118 penalty minutes.

While contract discussions continue, Max Domi remains optimistic about staying with the Leafs.

“I know my agent (Judd Moldaver) has been talking to (GM Brad Treliving), though I have to keep that discussion in-house,” Domi said. “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’s one-year, $3-million deal with the Leafs would likely need to increase by at least another million for him to stay.

GM Brad Treliving talks about Max Domi and others

The Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, speaking about Max Domi and other UFAs like Tyler Bertuzzi, said that the deal has to work both ways.

“But it’s got to work for them and it’s got to work for us,” Treliving said (via The Athletic). “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. ... So we’ll see."

Treliving hopes to finalize a contract with the free agents soon.

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Edited by Ribin Peter
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