Don't get rid of those Tie Domi Maple Leafs jerseys.
Amid a rash of negative publicity this week regarding his inactivity on the free-agent market, Leafs general manager John Ferguson will announce today that he has re-signed Domi, easily the most visible Leaf in this city.
Ferguson only would say last night that discussions with Domi have continued this week.
"We do value his service and always have," Ferguson said. "He is a big part of this club."
When asked whether he would have something to announce before the close of business today, Ferguson only would say that it "would not be a surprise." Ferguson has come under plenty of heat this week, but has not had much wiggle room given the NHL's new $39-million US salary cap.
The contract for Domi is for two years and $2.5 million. That leaves Ferguson with approximately $8 million to sign six players before he reaches the cap.
How badly did Domi want to return? It is believed he turned down a deal from good friend Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins that would have been in the range of three years and $4.5 million.
No one actually has seen Domi bleed blue but it would not be a shock were it true. He serves an unofficial role as the Leafs' biggest recruiter among the players and quickly became tight with stars such as captain Mats Sundin and goalie Ed Belfour.
Originally drafted by the Leafs in 1988, Domi spent time with the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets before being traded back to the Leafs in April 1995. Only Sundin has a longer current tenure with the Leafs.
Another Leafs free agent, however, is unlikely to be back. Expect Alex Mogilny, once he is completely healthy following hip surgery, to sign with another team, following Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk and Brian Leetch out of town.
Mogilny has been working out all summer -- recently changing venues to Los Angeles from his home town of Khabarovsk, Russia -- with the intent of returning to the NHL this fall.
"I have not heard anything from the Maple Leafs regarding Alex," J.P. Barry, Mogilny's agent, said. "I've had preliminary discussions with close to a half-dozen teams. I think if he continues to work out at the pace he has been, he will be ready for the start of the season."
Speculation remains that centre Jason Allison could be signed by Toronto. The majority of big-name players are gone, though names such as Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Ziggy Palffy, Eric Lindros and Roman Hamrlik are there for the taking.
Ferguson, meanwhile, adamantly denied the Leafs have extended an offer sheet to Detroit Red Wings restricted free- agent Henrik Zetterberg, who has received a qualifying offer from the Wings for just over $500,000. Zetterberg's agent, Marc Levine, said any link between the Leafs and his client was news to him.