The trade chatter is almost deafening in Pittsburgh. Ever since rumors emerged that the Penguins could try to move top forward Phil Kessel due to the sour relationship that lingers between the veteran player and team head coach Mike Sullivan, there is no way to put a stop to the ongoing trade rumors that could come to fruition this summer by the former champions.
On Tuesday, a new name was placed in the mix as the trade target for the Penguins during the latest episode of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast. Host and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman has revealed that the Pens have their eye on Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi and could make a move to land the 23-year-old sooner rather than later.
“One of the things I heard just around the Cup Final is that I think the Penguins have interest in him," Friedman stated, reminding his audience that the Penguins are actively planning make changes this offseason, which was indeed confirmed by general manager Jim Rutherford on the team’s dressing room clean out day.
This is no secret: there is a close relationship between Mario Lemieux and Domi's father, Tie. While Friedman does not believe that is a driving factor behind any potential trade, the Penguins do appear to have serious interest in making a move for the young forward, who is still growing into his game.
After scoring 18 goals during his rookie season, Domi only managed to score 18 goals combined over the two years since. Now a few weeks away from becoming a restricted free agent off his entry-level contract, the Coyotes could look to move him at the NHL Entry Draft or before.
However, like Friedman previously mentioned back in February during a segment on Hockey Night in Canada, the Coyotes are also looking for what is best for the young forward.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a trade where they’re looking to dump him or unload him or get rid of him,” Friedman said back on Feb. 10. “I just think they are looking around to maybe see if there is someone who feels a fresh start will help him.”
While the Penguins could offer him that said fresh start, Friedman also reported that the Montreal Canadiens could have interest in landing Domi in hopes of becoming a Cup contender once again.
There won't be the only ones. Rutherford is focused on maximizing the Cup window of the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era, and changes are expected this summer.
Friedman ended the segment with a bomb, stating that "nothing that they do this year – aside from trading Crosby or Malkin or Matt Murray would surprise him.”