For the first week of free agency, the big stories were Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The rumor mills were having a field day, it seemed like a consistent rotation of teams that were interested. Pens fans were loving every minute of it, since Pittsburgh seemed to be the destination for at least one of them. The thought of a Parise-Crosby-whoever pairing on the top line got Pittsburghers more excited than eating a Primanti’s sandwich at a Donnie Iris concert.
Then they both decided to sign with Minnesota. Enjoy playing for the coach that wasn’t even good enough to run the Penguins’ power play.
So after the dust from the Parise/Suter saga settled, attention turned to the only other big name available: Shane Doan. From the perspective of a typical hockey fan, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than Doan. A tenacious and gritty player, Doan has captained the Phoenix Coyotes since before Sidney Crosby ever played an NHL game. He’s a beacon of consistency, scoring 50 points or more in each of his last nine seasons. And he did all this while flanking a bevy of forgettable centers. Most teams would be ecstatic to employ a guy like Doan. As a Pens fan, I would have paid him from my own pocket.
Nowadays, hearing his name causes me to forcibly suppress my gag reflex.
Doan has managed to turn a process that takes most players days or weeks into a two month long saga, through which it still seems as if all options are on the table. Yes, I understand, he’s basically played for one organization his entire career (drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, stayed on as they became the Coyotes), but when you want to stay in a place, you usually know it.
Then, beyond Doan’s indecision, is the dollar figure being thrown around for his services. Apparently one team (ahem, Sabres) offered him a four-year, $30 million contract. That’s an average cap hit of $7.5 million (By the way, Sidney Crosby’s average cap hit is $8.7 million). $7.5 million a year for a guy who was born prior to the Jimmy Carter administration? No thanks. The fact that Doan didn’t sign that contract in five seconds tells me that he’s still wedded to Phoenix, or else he’s supremely awful at math. By the way, that contract would make him the highest paid player on that Buffalo team. Eek.
The latest word is that Doan will have his decision by September 15th. I certainly won’t hold my breath, and I definitely won’t be opening my wallet for him now.
Photo Credits: Getty Images