NHL Free Agents: Have Shane Doan and His Agent Played a Perfect Game?

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NHL Free Agents: Have Shane Doan and His Agent Played a Perfect Game?
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As we edge toward the first day of August, most of the prized NHL free agents have found homes.

There is one notable exception, and that is the man who has spent his entire NHL career playing with the Phoenix Coyotes franchise, Shane Doan.

The 35-year old forward does not remain without a team due to a lack of suitors. More than half of the league’s teams have expressed an interest in signing the long-time captain of the Coyotes.

Instead, we are being told that Doan has not signed on the dotted line because he wants to remain with the Coyotes, but only if the team’s ownership issues are cleared up. With that in mind, Doan is giving the team and potential owner Greg Jamison as much time as possible to get things done. 

All in all, this is a nice sentiment, but what if it’s all smoke and mirrors? 

What if the reality is that Doan and his agent have been doing nothing other than playing the hand that has been dealt to them perfectly? What if this has all been perfectly orchestrated to do nothing other than get Doan paid?

I know, I know, Doan is a nice guy, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s been nothing but loyal to the Coyotes organization. That’s all well and good, but somewhere deep down inside, you have to admit, you’ve been thinking the same thing. If you haven’t, you’re a better person than I.

The gamesmanship began before free agency began, when Doan did not sign with the Coyotes.

That marked the first time in his career that he would not be under contract with the team. When that happened, the offers understandably started rolling in for the veteran player. Meanwhile, Doan’s agent kept repeating the refrain that his client wished to remain a Coyote, but only if the ownership situation was stabilized.

As the process dragged on, high profile free agent after high profile free agent were signed, until finally Alexander Semin inked a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes and, lo and behold, Shane Doan was the last man standing among the big name free agents.

Will Doan remain a Coyote?

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Now with that out of the way, news came down on Friday that it may be time for Doan to look at what the other clubs are offering and begin negotiating with other interested parties. Which leads one to think, did Doan and his agent use the Coyotes ownership struggles to their advantage, stringing everyone along while waiting until he was the last viable scorer out there?

If that’s the case, they should be applauded for the business move, for it will surely raise the asking price for Doan and give him a significant contract. By the same token, if this is the reality of the situation, the Coyotes organization and their fans should be livid.

Is this a cynical way to look at things? Sure, but we all know hockey is big business. When we’re talking millions of dollars at stake, well, sometimes things can get a little ugly.

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