Elliotte Friedman states Maple Leafs want to retain Domi, Bertuzzi, nervous about term

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Arun Srinivasan
29 days ago
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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman joined Nick Alberga and Jay Rosehill on Leafs Morning Take and provided updates on the contract discussions surrounding Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi.
Domi and Bertuzzi are Toronto’s high-priority free agents and were the hallmarks of Brad Treliving’s first free agency haul last summer. During the weekend, Domi provided Maple Leafs head coach Craig Berube with a ringing endorsement in an interview with Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun, while refusing to indicate whether he’s made a firm commitment for next season.
Friedman joined Alberga and Friedman and provided some robust information that could inform the ongoing contract negotiations.
“I know Domi wants some term,” Friedman said Wednesday. “I think Max Domi is a perfect Leaf. I think he’s going to be happy to be here for a long time. I think Toronto is nervous (about) term. I think if they can find a term number that makes sense for both sides, I think it happens.”
“Bertuzzi is the interesting one. I also think they want to bring him back but again, I think the Leafs are trying to be really careful about term. That’s one thing I was warned: if they lose some of these players, it’s probably going to be because of term more than AAV.”

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It took Domi a few months to find his groove but he rounded into top form during the second half of the season, finishing fifth league-wide in 5-on-5 assists. He responded well, playing on Toronto’s first line alongside Bertuzzi and Auston Matthews, then reverted back to centre for parts of the team’s first-round series against the Boston Bruins, when Matthews was out of the lineup with an undisclosed illness. Domi finished with nine goals and 47 points in 80 games during the 2023-24 season.
Domi’s ties to the Maple Leafs are self-evident and he embraced the city with open arms during his first year with his boyhood club. While he’s far better suited to play on the wing, than he is as a full-time centre, Domi’s playmaking and positional versatility will almost certainly be viewed as key assets for Treliving and his staff. Toronto marks the seventh stop in Domi’s professional career so it’s understandable why the Maple Leafs may be reticent towards striking a long-term deal, when potentially negotiating against themselves.
Bertuzzi is a similar, but not identical case. He also joined the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal worth $5.5 million, after leading the Bruins in scoring during a seven-game upset at the hands of the Florida Panthers. Bertuzzi received a prolonged first look with Matthews and Mitch Marner on Toronto’s nominal top scoring line and it also months for his scoring touch to arrive. The 29-year-0ld’s analytical profile often suggested he should’ve scored more often, as he excels at getting to the net front and high-danger areas. Bertuzzi recorded 21 goals and 43 points in 80 games.
Toronto is armed with over $18 million in projected cap space so it’ll be compelling to see if Treliving and company decided to effectively run it back. As things stand, it appears we could be in for a redux as Domi and Bertuzzi may be inclined to sign show-me deals for the second consecutive summer.

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