Maple Leafs Rumors: Toronto Faces Uphill Battle in Shane Doan Sweepstakes

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 22:  Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes warms up before Game Five of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on May 22, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While the Toronto Maple Leafs have already added some scoring punch to their lineup this offseason by acquiring James van Riemsdyk, adding a proven veteran like Shane Doan would push the team one step closer to the playoffs.

It won't be easy, though.

The Leafs are one of nearly a dozen teams that have interest in the winger if he ultimately decides it's time to leave the Phoenix Coyotes, according to Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. Doan has spent his entire career with the same organization.

Ongoing concerns about the ownership situation have caused the 35-year-old Canadian to start considering other options, giving teams like the Leafs a chance to land him.

Make no mistake, however: when it comes to Toronto, it's an outside chance.

Having played for a team that advanced to the Western Conference finals this past season, it's hard to imagine Doan deciding to play for a fringe playoff team. That's especially true when you consider his age and the number of contenders in the hunt to sign him.

Also, since he's from Canada, Doan understands the intense pressure on the Leafs in Toronto. Fans have been waiting a while for the team to move back up the standings and become more frustrated with each passing season.

Every big addition, which Doan would certainly be, gets viewed as the savior. He's better-served going to a team where the spotlight is less bright. He has spent his entire career without that added pressure, he really doesn't need it on his shoulders now.

Make no mistake, Doan can still play at an extremely high level and is capable of living up to the hype. He scored 50 points, including 22 goals, for a defense-first Coyotes team in 2011-12. Outside of Phoenix, he would still be capable of hitting the 30-goal mark.

But there's really no reason to endure the extra pressure unless it's a necessary move. Since there are plenty of other options, the Leafs would have to make quite the compelling argument or offer for him to strongly consider it.

It's something that's a constant issue for the Leafs' front office. They have some of the most passionate fans in the NHL and play in a true hockey town, but instead of being looked at as a positive, many high-profile free agents probably see it as a hindrance.

All told, it's impossible to blame the Leafs for at least making a run at Doan. He would provide a nice boost and should get the fanbase excited for next season after plenty of disappointment in recent seasons.

That said, fans shouldn't get their hopes up. It's a long shot, at best.