When RDS reported earlier this month that the Canadiens were among the many teams — at least half the league — expressing interest in UFA Shane Doan, no one expected the Coyotes captain to remained unsigned three full weeks after his contract expired. But that’s where things sit.
The reason for that, of course, is that Doan prefers to remain in Arizona and he’s been hoping the process of selling the club to former Sharks president Greg Jamison moves forward to the point where it appears very likely to happen, if not exactly a done deal.
“He’s more or less waiting for (clarification) on what’s going on with the ownership in Phoenix, not so much going for more money. He’s a very honest guy, and I know he’s the type of guy who would take a pay cut to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes,” teammate Paul Bissonnette told Luke Fox on Sportsnet.ca late last week. “You can see why teams are offering him (contracts), because leadership is hard to come by, especially with guys like Shane Doan.”
Some people believe Doan will remain with the Coyotes, but that’s really not a certainty as long as the Coyotes remain unsold. Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, expected to hear late last week on Jamison’s progress but nothing has come to light yet. Bross said if he didn’t have a good indication the sale was proceeding, Doan would start exploring options more seriously.
“Teams have been great about being patient with me, and I appreciate it so much because I know the fluidity of the market and the way that it moves,” Doan said in New York last week where he was for the CBA talks in his role as a member of the NHLPA Negotiating Committee. “The teams have been so kind to my family and understanding the situation we’re in. That being said, eventually I have to make a decision, and it’ll have to probably be without all the information.”
There have been obstacles in the Coyotes sale: First was Jamison’s ability to attract partners and raise the money to buy the club from the NHL but that has supposedly been settled.
Another has been the opposition to the complicated lease agreement by some Glendale, AZ, citizens between Jamison and the City of Glendale. There have been legal challenges and petition drives and some of those have suffered setbacks. They may not be entirely gone and that is holding things up, but Bross said he hasn’t had very much in the way of communication from Jamison lately to get an update on things.
So it’s possible Doan will start looking at other teams more seriously sometime soon.
Now, when it comes to Doan signing with the Habs, they’d have to outbid at least 15 other clubs, so it’s far from a certainty he’d end up in Montreal.
There’s also the matter of the Canadiens’ depth at right wing. Montreal has Erik Cole, Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque on the depth chart.
If GM Marc Bergevin wants Doan, he’d have to move one of them — and all three have no trade clauses in their contracts, although Bourque’s is listed as a Modified No Trade Clause and, as Cap Geek notes on his profile, since he already has been traded, it’s possible that it no longer applies.
Theoretically speaking, however, while Bourque would be the one who could be technically easier to move, his tradeability may not be high, given his production relative to his salary, which is $4 million this coming season, and his cap hit, which is $3.33 million a year for the next three years.
Cole won’t be moved; that’s for certain.
And that leaves Gionta, the Canadiens captain who has had injury issues recently. Would the Canadiens entertain offers for Gionta if they could attract Doan? Tough to say, although there were rumblings in the New Jersey media that Gionta would be a good replacement for Zach Parise. Don’t know how seriously we should take them.
Well, it’s nothing more than conjecture right now. Doan hasn’t decided to leave the Coyotes yet and the Habs are among the pack of teams that would be fighting for him if he did. But it is something to talk about.