The Canadiens — along with half the NHL — continue to have interest in Shane Doan, so let’s check in a week after our last Doan update to see what’s new — and a few things are new.
First, the Coyotes captain had been reluctant to fully explore his free agent options while former Sharks president Greg Jamison was pushing forward with plans to buy the team from the NHL.
Doan did meet with the Rangers and Flyers when he was on the East Coast earlier this month for CBA talks but, as Flyers GM Paul Holmgren revealed last week, “I don’t believe he is going to do anything until he has some answers in his mind as to what is happening there. I think he is a very loyal guy. He is loyal to (Coyotes GM) Don Maloney, and the Phoenix franchise. I give him kudos for that. We will see how it plays out. I think in the end he would rather be in Phoenix in a perfect world. It’s where his family has been raised. If he is ready to make a move, we have interest.”
Doan wasn’t getting any answers for a while. His agent Terry Bross said Jamison wasn’t being very communicative about his situation despite pledges Doan and Bross would be kept informed of Jamison’s situation. That supposedly changed this weekend when, according to Mike Sunnucks of The Phoenix Business Journal, Jamison and Doan got together on Friday night after an ultimatum from Doan and Bross.
The substance of those discussions have not become public but a few other related developments have.
The biggest development is that Jamison seems to not have sufficient money at the moment to buy the club. He’s reportedly $20 million short.
Sunnucks wrote late last week one of Jamison’s partners backed out of the deal and Sunnucks wrote on Saturday, “The Coyotes deal is on tenuous ice but could still happen, according to multiple sources familiar with the team’s three-year ownership saga and uncertain future in the Phoenix market. Jamison is courting new investors and partners to help him cobble together the money and financing needed to purchase the team from the National Hockey League.”
What this means for Doan is uncertain but if the sale to Jamison is delayed much longer, eventually, he’ll have to decide how much long he can tie himself to Phoenix.
That brings us to the second point: Where might Doan go? Lots of clubs want him but his visits with the Rangers and Flyers indicate that he was interested in seeing if there is a potential match with those clubs. Then this past week, TVA reported a source close to Doan said he would visit the Canadiens this week. If true, it would be an indication that Doan, who loved playing in Winnipeg, has interest in returning to play for a Canadian franchise.
The TVA report came out before Jamison finally spoke with Doan but there’s been no indication yet that this meeting with the Habs has been pushed back or cancelled. While other clubs have said they’d like Doan to visit them, there have been no other reports of him scheduling visits elsewhere, which doesn’t mean he hasn’t or won’t.
And this brings us to Point Three: What would it take to land Shane Doan? Doan made $4.55 last season with the Coyotes but John Gambadoroa, a radio reporter in Phoenix, tweeted earlier this month that one unnamed Eastern Conference team supposedly offered him a four-year, $30 million deal. That figure has been bandied about freely and seems to be rather high for Montreal or any team to pay Doan.
Yes, Alexander Semin got $7 million from Carolina last week, but that was for just one year and he’s 27. Doan will be 36 in October and while Doan at that age might be a better player to have in your dressing room than Semin at any age, the fact is that even the most productive older players don’t get that kind of money (see Adam Gretz’s CBS Sportsline very good blog post on Doan’s value for those figures).
Additionally, you have to keep in mind the CBA’s Over-35 Rule: If a team signs a multi-year deal with a player who will be 35 or older, starting in the second year of the contract, the full amount of that contract counts against the team’s salary cap regardless of whether the player is on the active roster or not. Putting aside for a second whatever changes may be made in the CBA going forward, this is a large number for an aging player that won’t go away even if Doan retires before the four years ends.
Nevertheless, that four-year, $30 million deal became the subject of lots of discussion last week, especially when TSN’s Aaron Ward tweeted “All indications Detroit #RedWings out of Shane Doan sweepstakes. Asking price too high.” No one from the Wings confirmed that, but most assumed GM Ken Holland would find better things to do with that money.
That was followed up with a story by David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail that reported, “A source familiar with Doan’s talks with other NHL teams said it is thought it will take a four-year contract worth a total of $30-million (all currency U.S.) to get him.”
But Shoalts was quick to add in the next paragraph that, “Terry Bross, Doan’s agent, said they have not made any specific demands although they are in possession of offers from six teams.”
Shoalts concluded that, “There are teams willing to pay Doan between $7-million and $7.5-million because of his leadership and two-way play but only for one or perhaps two years. However, the source said there will probably be at least one team willing to cough up that much for four years.”
Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps Doan will be more interested in playing for a club where he feels comfortable than one that may be less to his liking but will throw a huge contract at him. In this very interesting off-season, we’ve already seen players decide to not take the biggest dollar amount on the table to play where they feel some sort of emotional attachment.
None of this is to suggest that Shane Doan is destined to wear bleu, blanc et rouge when the next NHL season starts. He’s got to decide to leave the Coyotes first, still no sure thing, and then he’d decide where he’d go, why he’d want to go there and for how much. Each team that interests Doan will have things in their favor.
Still, Doan’s interest in the Habs doesn’t seem as remote as some might have thought even a week ago.