It’s been nearly a month since Shane Doan set the first of his deadlines in hopes of getting clarity on the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to prospective buyer Greg Jamison.
Since then, Doan has examined his options, which included meeting with the respective managements of the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks, but as he recently told TSN, he’s doing everything he can to remain with the Coyotes.
The problem, according to recent reports out of Arizona, is Jamison apparently lacks sufficient capital to purchase and operate the Coyotes, coming up short by about $20 million.
Doan’s desire to re-sign and his patience over the ownership situation are commendable, but by fielding offers and visiting with interested teams, he’s obviously preparing for the possibility of signing elsewhere.
One of the teams thought to be pursuing Doan: the San Jose Sharks.
Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com on Friday cited a source claiming the Sharks have quietly pursued the Coyotes captain, listing them among the favorites for his services.
Kurz subsequently reported rumors Doan is seeking a four-year, $30-million contract, which would have average annual salary of $7.5 million.
He noted an NHL source said if that asking price were genuine, the Sharks wouldn’t be among the suitors, as they’re unwilling to offer more than a three-year deal at $4.5 million per season.
It should be noted Doan’s agent recently denied that rumor, which appears to have been taken from a report last month he’d received that $30-million offer from an unnamed Eastern Conference club and blown out of proportion.
That said, if the Sharks aren’t willing to offer more than $4.5 million per season, they’re unlikely to outbid teams like the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, which have the cap space to ink him for much more than that.
The Nashville Predators are another Western Conference club with interest in Doan and the cap space to sign him.
GM David Poile recently said he doesn’t expect Doan to visit Nashville as he did with the Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks, but that’s due to his familiarity with the team and the city of Nashville.
Speaking of the Rangers, Larry Brooks of the New York Post claimed they remain keenly interested in Doan, citing the absence of Marian Gaborik (shoulder surgery) until December and the pressure upon promising forwards Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin.
Brooks noted Doan’s desire to remain with the Coyotes, but if he moves on, it’s believed he’s narrowed his focus to the Rangers, Penguins and Canucks, suggesting if GM Glen Sather is willing to commit for four years, the veteran right winger “is more likely than not to become a Blueshirt.”
Fans of other NHL clubs tend to roll their eyes whenever they read speculative reports about the best available talent going to the Rangers, but in this case, Brooks may be correct.
The Rangers have more than $11 million in cap space and their recent acquisition of Rick Nash indicates they’re in serious pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Given the superb goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, the rising talent on their blueline corps, their solid defensive game and the addition of Nash, the Rangers could become the favorite to win the Cup this coming season.
If Doan decides to leave the Coyotes, it’s believed he’ll sign with a Cup contender. The Rangers arguably give him the best chance of playing for a champion.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.