After Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (and perhaps Justin Schultz), the most popular free agent this summer may turn out to be right wing Shane Doan.

The eight-year captain of the Phoenix Coyotes has long been revered as a fearsome competitor, respected leader and solid scorer.

For years the Coyotes have lacked a bona fide star, but Doan has been the organization’s rock and has led an under-talented Phoenix club to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

Doan’s veteran leadership and still solid production (nine straight 50-point seasons and 20 goals in 11 of the last 12 years) could make him a hot commodity this summer, if it appears that he’d actually consider playing for another franchise.

Doan has rejected that notion publicly on multiple occasions and Phoenix management has repeatedly expressed optimism about re-signing the face of its franchise, but July 1st continues to tick closer and there’s still no deal.

For the Rangers, Doan could be a terrific secondary scoring option and bring tremendous depth down the right side along with Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and hopefully Brandon Prust, while also contributing positively to an already close-knit locker room.

It might be a different role for Doan, who would go from go-to-guy for the Coyotes to just one of the guys in New York, but part of the reason he’s so fond of Phoenix is his acceptance of relative anonymity.  New York isn’t exactly the best place to play if you want to avoid media scrutiny, but Doan is also chasing a ring as his career winds down.

And of course, that’s the big concern with Doan. He’s already 35-years-old and will be 36 when the 2012-2013 season kicks off.  The Rangers have shied away from adding such greybeards to their roster in recent years after being burned several times in the past, so they may be reluctant about handing out a multi-year contract to a grizzled veteran.

However, it’s important to note that Doan’s game hasn’t changed all that much.  He can still put the puck in the net and still plays with the nastiness and reckless enthusiasm of a man far younger.

It’s impossible to guess how much longer that will last before father time begins to catch up with him, but for now, Doan has done his part to alleviate age concerns.

If the Rangers swing and miss on Parise, don’t be surprised to see them go after Doan.  He’s one of the few goal-scorers available and has the pedigree that the Blueshirts covet.  That, and like Parise, he’d cost nothing but cash to acquire, as opposed to Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash.

Doan has made $4.55 million in each of the last five seasons and figures to be in line for another salary in the $4 million range, although he may be willing to compromise for a team that he deems to be a strong fit.

A two-year offer seems reasonable, but anything longer than that might give the Blueshirts pause, understandably so.  A short deal with Doan might be a perfect bridge to the Rangers’ next wave of right wing prospects like Christian Thomas, Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller.


Mentioned in this article:

More About: