Shane Doan made it clear early in free agency that his desire was to stay with the franchise that drafted him and that he has captained since 2003, but it seems that Doan's patience with the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation may have finally run out.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post is reporting that Doan has narrowed his list of potential new teams to three, and the Phoenix Coyotes are not one of them.
Doan, who understandably wants this to be the last move he makes, is believed to have narrowed his sights on Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. It's unclear if Rangers general manager Glen Sather is willing to go four years, but if he does, Doan is more likely than not to become a Blueshirt.
If the report is true, Doan have finally decided to take his talents out of the hockey Siberia that is Phoenix and into a major NHL market.
Doan has waited it out in Phoenix, and there are no signs of it getting better anytime soon. The Phoenix Business Journal reported July 28 that the team's potential new owner, Greg Jamison, is $20 million short of the money he needs to keep the team in Phoenix.
Eventually Doan needs to start planning for the season ahead, and he can no longer wait on the league ironing out a deal with Jamison. Doan has played the last three seasons in the turmoil that is the Phoenix Coyotes organization, and ownership and relocation issues are the last thing a player of his caliber and age wants to deal with as he nears the end of his career.
A four-year contract is a lot for a declining 36-year-old winger to ask for, but it makes it almost a certainty that Doan will finish out his career with the team he ends up signing with.
If he stays with the Coyotes, that is not a certainty. Even if Jamison manages to buy the team, there will still be pressures to move them to a new city.
Doan also has not won a Stanley Cup during his time with the Coyotes. The team did advance all the way to the Western Conference Finals last year before losing to the eventual champion, the Los Angeles Kings, but that kind of run happening again is unlikely.
The Coyotes lost key contributors Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin and Taylor Pyatt to free agency this offseason.
All three teams on Doan's list, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, have been perennial contenders for the cup and make the most sense if Doan's priority is to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Doan's leadership and talent on the ice would be welcomed by any of these teams, and he may be considered the final piece that makes them a championship caliber roster.
Doan had his lowest point total since the 2001-02 season, but still managed to reach the 50-point mark. This would be a solid upgrade for any of these teams at the right wing spot on the second line.
The clock is ticking down until the 2012-13 NHL season begins, and Doan needs to make up his mind sooner than later.
Where do you think Doan will end up? Leave a comment below with your opinon.
Follow me on Twitter @john_degroote