NHL Free Agency: Shane Doan Is a Perfect Fit in Pittsburgh

Shane DarrowAnalyst IIAugust 14, 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 biggest name left in free agency is Shane Doan, and while the Penguins have swung and missed with other notable free agents, it might end up being a blessing in disguise because Doan is the absolute perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins missed out on Zach Parise, who would eventually sign alongside Ryan Suter and join the Minnesota Wild, and they also failed to propose a trade offer for Rick Nash, who was sent to the New York Rangers for three players and draft picks.

Larry Brooks from the New York Post reported that Doan, who will turn 36 in October, is seeking a four-year deal and is preparing to depart Phoenix for the first time in his career. Brooks also writes that Doan has narrowed down his possible destinations to Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Vancouver.

With the Rangers already facing a financial bind in the near future, it is unlikely that GM Glen Sather would be willing to pick up a hefty four-year contract and lock up Doan in the Big Apple.

The Vancouver Canucks would be a very interesting destination for the Coyotes captain. After dominating the regular season for the last couple of years but failing to win the Stanley Cup, Doan could be the guy that would push them over the edge.

But with a lack of depth at center, Doan's ability on the wing would not be as accessible as it would if he were to become a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Throughout his entire career, Sidney Crosby has been searching for a talented winger that would compliment his ability in the middle of the ice. When it was first reported that the Penguins were going after Parise, many believed that he was going to be the guy to finally fill this void, but Doan would fill it just as well if not better.

The top line of Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal is more than likely going to stay the same, as that combination led Evgeni Malkin to a 100-point season and Neal ended up with 40 goals. But Sidney Crosby was bounced around different wingers as he returned from injury.

Adding Doan would create a new option for the Penguins captain, and would more than likely replace Steve Sullivan on the wing.

The potential second line would likely have Pascal Dupuis on the left side (who has had success playing with Sid), Crosby in the middle and Doan on the right wing.

Doan has had only 60 goals in the last three seasons, but playing with Duper and Crosby would without a doubt increase this average. Dupuis is a guy that can grind and cycle the puck with the best of them, while Crosby is arguably the best in the league at creating space for himself and gaining that extra second to make a play toward the net.

The role that Doan would play on that line could be endless, as he has never shied away from the physicality of being a power forward, and yet still carries the finesse to be a goal scorer in the slot. Once the chemistry is formed, the Penguins would have the most feared top two lines in the game.

Adding Doan would fill the one big gap in the Penguins' roster up front, and would allow third and fourth-line role players like Joe Vitale and Matt Cooke to focus on defensive and neutral zone coverage, while the top two lines focus on putting pucks in the net.

With Jordan Staal, Steve Sullivan and Arron Asham all gone from last year's forward rotation, signing Shane Doan isn't only a move that makes perfect sense, it is a move that the Penguins need to make.