Shane Doan, upon assessing the latest on the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation, will take as long as until a week from Monday to decide whether he will return to his career-long employers or seek new NHL attire via free agency.
This means a pleasantly surprising new addition to the market for a multitude of teams that could stand to tack on another reliable scorer.
Regardless of Doan’s feelings on the future of the franchise he has captained for the last nine years, the next week spells ample opportunity for other front offices to present a more enticing scenario in their own circles.
On that note, here are the six teams, that should be pursuing Doan the most aggressively, presented in alphabetical order.
Although general manager Peter Chiarelli has pledged a passive summer, he would better serve the Bruins' interest by pursuing a seasoned scorer who can be placed on the top six and shore up the power play.
Given that he will turn 36 in October, Doan might not be the best available choice for a one- or two-year gig, which may be all the Bruins will really need out of him. But his addition to the Boston lineup would be better than no addition at all.
It is not entirely a coincidence that in the first five years of the Claude Julien era, the two years the Bruins could not get out of the first round of the playoffs were also the two years without Mark Recchi.
Doan’s experience, leadership qualities, grit, sustained aptitude and keen hunger for postseason glory can replenish virtually everything Boston lost when Recchi retired last summer.
Granted, Boston has a modicum of cap space at this point. But making room for Doan should take nothing more than either placing Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve or trading Tim Thomas.
For no other reason, the Stars could try to rekindle Doan and the newly obtained Ray Whitney’s chemistry for their own benefit at the double expense of their Pacific Division rivals from Phoenix.
If they are to prove that the end of their 12-year playoff drought, let alone their finish at the top of the Southeast Division, was no fluke, then they must nab another established scorer to complement Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss.
The Rangers would not necessarily be hurting themselves by letting the homegrown youth movement of Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan blossom. But Doan could lend an invaluable boost of depth and veteran presence, which will embolden the Blueshirts’ endeavor to retain and build on their Atlantic Division title.
Seeking a more bona fide insurance policy up front could be especially vital in the sense of keeping up with the likes of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Rangers already have the edge in net with Henrik Lundqvist, but the acquisition of one more reliable skater would bring that edge into a greater light.
Yes, there is still some buzz about trading for Nash, but Nash has four games worth of playoff experience in his decade-long career and would come with a price in personnel.
Conversely, Doan is coming off a long, but still unfulfilling postseason run and can be had at no cost beyond a salary and cap hit.
The two-time President’s Trophy winners are another team that could stand to shore up its strike force so as to duplicate its regular-season success in the postseason.
And for what it’s worth, Doan spent six seasons with current Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness when he was on Bob Francis and Wayne Gretzky’s staffs.
Alexander Semin or not, the Caps need more certifiable strikers if they expect to finally reach the third round of the playoffs.
Not to mention, Doan’s fellow free agent—the 39-year-old Mike Knuble—is out of Washington after looking washed-up throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old Doan ought to be a safe bet for an upgrade on Knuble.