PHILADELPHIA - FEBRUARY 22: Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 22 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Tonight marks Doan's 1,098th game with the franchise which ties him for the all-time games-played record. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Shane Doan wants to stay in Phoenix, but ownership uncertainty could drive him out of town. If that happens, plenty of teams are interested.
When NHL free agency opened July 1, I shared a thought with a lot of NHL observers.
With how top-heavy the group of free agents was (Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and everybody else), I thought it would be wise for any highly-touted free agent not named Parise or Suter to wait things out. After all, there were too many teams interested in the top dogs for the bidding not to be high on everyone else.
And while he isn't in line for a six-year contract like Carle got, it should pay off handsomely for Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan. While he waits for what he hopes is some sort of closure in the Coyotes' ownership saga, Doan seems to be quietly racking up the interest around the league.
Just about any contending-type team with cap room and a need for a tough, gritty leader capable of scoring big goals should be on the phone for Doan. This is especially true of contending teams that missed out on Parise.
No, Doan isn't a 30-goal scorer, but he does well for a guy in his mid-30s who has a lot of miles on his proverbial tires. In the right situation, there's no reason to think Doan can't score 20-25 goals and help a playoff team win.
The question: Is Doan willing to leave Phoenix, and depart from the only franchise he's ever played for?
Agent Terry Bross told Kevin Allen of USA Today that Doan wants to be assured of the franchise's stability in the desert -- under presumptive new owner Greg Jamison -- before he signs there.
"The bottom line is we still don't have any resolution," said Bross, noting Doan would probably "start making decisions" after his meeting with Jamison, who plans to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz., if his deal is finalized.
... Coyotes general manager Don Maloney also has made an offer to keep Doan.
"Don and I have been going back and forth for quite a while now," Bross said. "I think Don and I could get something done. I can say the offer right now isn't where we want to be, but I think Don and I could work to get it done."
But Doan wants to be convinced that Jamison's purchase is going to happen.
"If Jamison's deal was solidified to keep the team there, then that's the direction he would go," Bross said. "(But) it seems like every day there's a new fly in the ointment."
Until Doan makes a determination about the team's future, it's going to be very difficult to come up with any concrete answers about his future.
Allen reports Detroit, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh are among the interested teams. Wherever he signs, it won't be a long-term deal, as Doan is already 35. It will also likely be an emotional decision for the Coyotes captain.
The Red Wings and Penguins were thought to be big players in the bidding for Suter and Parise, and the Kings had been reportedly interested in at least Parise. There is no reason to think Doan can do the same things Parise can, but since no one seems to want Alexander Semin, and Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan are under contract, Doan might be the best forward currently available.
I could be wrong, but I think he'll get a nice payday to leave the desert, should he choose to do that. From there, we'll find out if Doan can be a piece for a true Stanley Cup contender, something he never really got a chance to do in Phoenix.