Coyotes GM Chayka addresses Domi trade reports

Coming or going? What’s the real story here?

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To say that things haven’t gone as planned for forward Max Domi and his Arizona Coyotes teammates this season might be the understatement on the century.

With a new head coach, a new starting goalie and one of the youngest, most dynamic rosters in the NHL, the Coyotes were expected to take a big step forward in 2017-18, but instead they’ve fallen flat on their face.

The Coyotes started the campaign with an 11 game losing streak and are the first NHL team to ever go begin a season without a regulation or OT win through its first 20 games. Yikes. Since then, things have improved slightly, but the the playoffs are still very much a pipe dream and it appears as though the Coyotes are headed for another Draft Lottery finish in the NHL standings.

With so much disappointment in the desert this season, analysts and trade insiders have tossed up a giant “FOR SALE” sign on the Coyotes’ front lawn. GMs looking to bolster their roster ahead of the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline will no doubt be reaching out to Coyotes GM John Chayka in an effort to acquire some talent for the stretch drive. And, according to a report from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, Domi is expected to be at the top of trade list.

In his latest column, Brooks singles out Domi as a potential trade chip, claiming that Chayka has made teams aware of his availability.

The Coyotes, we’ve learned, have made it known that Max Domi, with three goals this season and 12 in the two years following his 18-goal rookie season, is there for the taking.

Now, just a day later Chayka has come forward to refute Brooks’ report. According to the Arizona Republic’s Richard Morin, Domi may not be on the trade block after all.

Interesting. So, who are we meant to believe in this game of “he said, she said?” Looking at purely the facts, it’s clear that Domi isn’t the core piece the Coyotes had hoped he was. He’s just 22 years old and managed to put up 18 goals and 52 points in his rookie campaign back in 2015-16. But since then, he hasn’t cracked 10 goals and 40 points in a season. This season, he has just three goals and 22 points in 52 games. Ouch.

The former 12th overall pick has struggled under new head coach Rick Tocchet and with rookie Clayton Keller and veteran Derek Stepan earning the big minutes for the Coyotes at the center ice position, Domi has had a tough time finding a role. Could a fresh start be just what the doctor ordered?

There’s no doubt that teams will be interested. It’s not often that highly skilled, 22-year-old forwards hit the trade market, so expect several GM’s to line up offers for Domi’s services. How great of a fit would he be for a rebuilding team like the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks or Ottawa Senators? He’s also been linked to the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in multiple reports.