A week and a half into the NHL’s unrestricted free agent period, Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan is reportedly ready to consider offers from rival teams.
Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, believed his client would start fielding offers Tuesday, having waited for clarity on the potential sale of the Coyotes to the Jamison group.
Doan’s preference is to re-sign with Phoenix and management hopes he does, but he’s reluctant to commit long-term to a franchise whose future in Arizona remains in doubt.
The arena lease agreement between the city of Glendale and Jamison could be put to a referendum if a petition being circulated by a group of locals opposed to the sale collects enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot in November. There’s currently a disagreement between the city council and the petitioners over the deadline for the submission.
Eleven teams have reportedly contacted Doan since July 1 and will revisit their interest if he seriously entertains offers.
Despite Doan’s age (35), he’s been a consistent offensive performer and is widely respected for his leadership, character and experience.
Given the lack of quality depth in this summer’s market, the Minnesota Wild’s signing of Zach Parise and left winger Alexander Semin’s poor reputation among NHL GMs, Doan has become this summer’s most prized remaining free agent.
The Arizona Republic reported he had “a lengthy list” of teams he would be interested in joining, including the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, but Bross declined to confirm the reports.
It didn’t take long, however, for confirmation to emerge from San Jose, Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Bross said there was “strong mutual interest” between the Sharks and Doan, while the Detroit Free Press reported the Red Wings had “reached out” last week to express interest.
Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune took to Twitter to confirm mutual interest between the Blackhawks and Doan, but the Coyotes captain also reportedly expressed a similar opinion to the Canucks when they contacted him last week.
The Canucks weren’t the only Canadian team chasing Doan, as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens also got in touch with him.
Other clubs believed to be in pursuit of the veteran winger include the St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres, while the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and even the Winnipeg Jets are believed to have put in calls.
Not every team, however, appears to be on Doan’s list of preferred destinations.
CSN Washington reported he wasn’t interested in playing for the Capitals and that the Penguins, Kings, Red Wings and possibly the Canucks were the clubs he’d prefer to play for besides the Coyotes.
The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater reported that early indications suggest the Colorado Avalanche aren’t on Doan’s list of preferred destinations.
If Doan does decide to leave the Coyotes, it wouldn’t be surprising if his preference was to go to a team close to Arizona. This, of course, would make the Kings and Sharks frontrunners.
The Dallas Stars could also be in the mix, though so far there’s no word if they’ve contacted him.
For all the hype over which teams Doan favors and those who’ve contacted him, it must be remembered his first choice is to remain with the Coyotes.
It appears he’ll field offers from interested parties and if the sale of the Coyotes finally goes through in the coming weeks, he’ll give them an opportunity to match or beat the best offer.
Bross has previously stated he’s told those interested teams his client is prepared to wait as long as possible on the Coyotes, meaning the Doan sweepstakes could stretch throughout July and perhaps even into August.
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.