That’s because the consensus for months, even years, was that Doan was a life-long Coyote, solely loyal to the Phoenix/Winnipeg squad that originally drafted him back in 1995.
But in a surprising turn of events, Phoenix GM Don Maloney admitted this evening that Doan will indeed test free agency on July 1st.
Doan really has no choice. Phoenix’s ownership situation is still as uncertain as ever and there’s still a reasonable possibility that the Coyotes will leave Phoenix in the very near future. Doan, at 35-years-old, knows that this will likely be the final contract of his NHL career and he understandably wants to know that his team is on solid ground and where his family will be living 12 months from now.
So the Coyotes’ eight-year captain has evidently made it known that with these issues still facing his current employer, he’s going to at least consider leaving the only team he has ever played for.
Doan’s age is concerning to some, but he still has plenty left in the tank and would be a great fit for the Rangers. Doan plays far younger than his age and still plays with enthusiasm and energy in addition to being a bull and a solid offensive contributor.
New York will almost certainly pursue Doan, but so will many other clubs. It’s unlikely that money will be a major object – the Rangers are desperate for offense and would be willing to outbid other teams, assuming the price stays in a reasonable $3 million to $4.5 million range annually. The bigger point of contention will be over the length of the contract.
Doan’s actions are an obvious indication that he desires security over all else, meaning a one-year deal won’t get this done. Two years is probably as far as most teams would prefer to go, but the eventual winner of his services may have to add an additional third or even fourth year to its offer. Whether GM Glen Sather will be willing to do that or not could determine if he lands the 11-time 20-goal scorer or not.
Don’t discount the possibility that Maloney’s public comment on Doan’s potential departure was a bit of a negotiating tactic, designed to play on the loyalty of his captain who is now surely being forced to answer all kinds of questions about his devotion to his team.
That’s of course ridiculous, because it’s common knowledge that if the Coyotes were simply able to straighten out their issues, Doan would have re-upped long ago and would at the very least be finalizing a new contract by now.
But neither Maloney nor Doan ever thought it would come to this and Maloney is now desperately trying to retain his captain and one of the few mildly marketable stars the Coyotes have left.