The New York Rangers made the biggest move of the offseason on Monday by acquiring Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a very reasonable price. As a result, it would be a mistake for general manager Glen Sather to add Shane Doan to the roster through free agency.
Sather briefly talked about Doan on Monday in a media conference call following the Nash trade (via the New York Daily News):
“Well, that’s purely speculation at this point in time, but it doesn’t eliminate the opportunity to try and pursue someone else at this stage. I think that’s about all I can tell you on that.”
Doan, 35, reportedly met with the Rangers last week. While he would upgrade the Rangers offense, the Blueshirts cannot add another player to their roster who will make $5-plus million for multiple years. Doan will probably get a multi-year deal from someone for at least $5 million per season, and it shouldn't be the Rangers.
They have too many young players who need new contracts in the next two to three seasons. Since Sather has been able to keep his best young talents and still get Nash, now he has an equally difficult challenge in re-signing all of them when they are due for new deals.
Let's look at some notable Rangers players who will need to be re-signed in the near future (salary information courtesy of Capgeek.com).
|Player||Position||Years Left on Current Deal||UFA/RFA|
|Michael Del Zotto||D||0||RFA (currently)|
As the above table shows, the Rangers will have many tough decisions to make on key players over the next two summers.
If they sign Doan to the multi-year deal he is likely looking for, then Sather will have a difficult time keeping all these players and giving them the money they will want. If the salary cap ceiling goes down as a result of the CBA, then keeping all these players and signing Doan becomes an even harder challenge.
Doan should have been the Rangers' priority if they weren't going to get Nash. Signing Doan now just doesn't make sense for the Rangers unless he is willing to accept a one- or two-year deal, which I don't see happening.
It may not even matter if Doan stays with the Phoenix Coyotes, but the Rangers cannot afford to give him a three-year or more deal.
Would it be possible for the Rangers to add Doan and re-sign all these players?
Maybe, but many of them will likely get significant raises when their current deals expire. After seeing what defensemen have been getting on the free-agent market this summer, Dan Girardi could easily earn $5 million or more per season in his next contract.
It's too much of a risk to assume that everyone will want to stay or that the Rangers will be able to re-sign everyone. When top players hit unrestricted free agency, there's usually a few teams willing to go crazy and severely overpay. The uncertainty of the CBA is also an issue for Sather.
Adding Doan shouldn't be a priority for New York.
The team has several young players capable of improving their game and giving the team more at both ends of the ice. After acquiring Nash, Sather should not pursue Doan unless he's willing to take a one- or two-year deal.