NHL Free Agents: Why the Flyers Shouldn't Hold Their Breath for Shane Doan

Dan FremuthContributor IIIAugust 6, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 15:  Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes awaits a face off in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 15, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers haven't had a whole lot of free-agent success this summer.

After soliciting the top two unrestricted free agents with robust offers, the Flyers were turned down by both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, as both took less money to play together in Minnesota.

Then, boasting the aggressive approach inherent in a Philadelphia offseason, the Flyers signed restricted free agent Shea Weber to a monstrous 14-year, $110 million offer sheet only to see the traditionally frugal Predators match that offer just 24 hours before Weber would have donned the orange and black for the next decade and a half.

And with the free-agent crop shrinking by the day it now appears the Flyers will likely miss out on the top remaining free agent—Phoenix Coyotes forward and captain, Shane Doan.

A report from The New York Post's Larry Brooks earlier today noted that should Doan leave the Coyotes organization, he "is believed to have narrowed his sights on Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Vancouver." The City of Brotherly Love is nowhere to be found.

And maybe that's not a bad thing.

The asking price for Doan's services for the 29 NHL teams not named the Phoenix Coyotes appears to be four years and $30 million. That's a four-year commitment to a 36-year-old forward at an annual cap hit of $7.5 million.

The Flyers, like all NHL teams, crave Doan's leadership coupled with his consistent level of production. Phoenix's captain since 2003, Doan is one of the longest-serving captains in the NHL today and hasn't seen his productive waver once during that period, recording 50 or more points in each of his last nine seasons.

Still, $7.5 million per year is a lot to commit to a player who is coming off his lowest point total (50) since the 2001-02 campaign. What's more, even though Doan has been a model of durability, having missed just 15 games over the last five seasons, his aggressive and tenacious style of play will likely begin to take its toll in years three and four of his coveted four-year pact.

Finally, whoever lands Doan will surely do so at an elevated price tag in a multi-year agreement. For the Flyers, a team finally eyeing some salary-cap flexibility, this would severely hinder their opportunities to land a true game-changing free agent next summer like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla or Alexander Edler.

And that's if Doan even decides to leave the desert.

In an interview with TSN on Saturday, Doan confirmed his goal is to remain in Phoenix. After spending his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets, the Alberta native moved with the rest of the organization to Phoenix in 1996 and hasn't looked back.

In his 16-year NHL career, Doan has played 1,124 games in a Coyotes uniform while notching 311 goals and 771 points. As stated earlier, he's captained the team through each of the last eight seasons and has been a pivotal cog in helping Phoenix reach the playoffs in each of the last three years.

That won't make it easy for Doan to walk away. But the ownership uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes has at the very least forced Doan to consider his options.

It just appears as though the Flyers aren't one of those options.