Shane Doan has indicated that he won’t make a decision about his future with the Phoenix Coyotes until July 9th. Should the Coyotes’ captain decide to leave the only organization that he has ever played for, the New York Rangers will undoubtedly attempt to sign him.
The Rangers are reported to be the front runners to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, and have expressed interest in the Anaheim Ducks’ Bobby Ryan. Although those two are proven goal scorers, Doan is a better fit for the Rangers than either one of them, or any remaining free agent still on the market. Here are five reasons why Shane Doan is a perfect fit for the Rangers.
1. Consistent Goal Production
In an interview after the 2011-12 season ended, Rangers’ special assistant to the GM Mark Messier said that in order to get to the next the level, the Rangers need to add depth offensively. In looking to add depth up front, the Rangers would be getting a known commodity in Doan.
Doan scored at least 20 goals and recorded at least 50 points in eleven of the past twelve seasons as a Coyote. With Marian Gaborik out for at least the first month of the season after having shoulder surgery, Doan would be able to slide right in to the Rangers lineup as the right wing on either the first or second line.
If Doan were to sign with the Rangers, the Broadway Blueshirts would have four players who scored at least twenty goals last season (Doan, Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan). In addition, Doan has scored 31 power play goals over the last four seasons, and would be a welcomed addition to a Rangers squad that finished 23rd in the NHL last season on the power play (15.7%).
2. Cost-Effective Transaction
According to capgeek.com, the Rangers have $15,816,666 of cap space as of July 7th. Even though the defending Atlantic Division Champions have the means to take on one (or multiple) high-priced contracts, signing Doan would be a cost-effective move in more than one way.
Between Doan, Nash, and Ryan, the Coyotes’ captain had the lowest cap hit of the trio in 2011-12 at $4.55 million. At age 35, it is unlikely that Doan will receive more than a $4.55 million per year contract, and it certainly won’t be as much as Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit or Ryan’s $5.1 million cap hit.
Another advantage of signing the two-time all-star is that the Rangers wouldn’t have to trade any players to bring him to Broadway. Blue Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson has refused to lower his original asking price for Nash, and the Rangers would likely have to trade two current players, a prospect, and a draft pick to get Ryan out of Anaheim.
3. Leadership Abilities
Although he would unlikely wear a letter on the Rangers, Doan’s leadership abilities are unquestioned. This season, Doan, who has been the Coyotes’ captain since the 2003-04 season, was recognized for his leadership on and off the ice when he received the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Last season, Brad Richards was an effective veteran presence in the locker room, as he took rookies like Carl Hagelin under his wing. The 16-year veteran Doan would have the same type of impact on the group of young players that the Broadway Blueshirts have.
4. Solid Two-Way Player
Since John Tortorella became the Rangers head coach during the 2008-09 season, the team has established an identity about how they play. “The Right Way,” as the Rangers players like to call it, refers to a defensive-first approach that includes being the best conditioned team on the ice. The fundamental part of the system that gained the most notoriety from the national media throughout the playoffs was the Rangers’ willingness to block shots in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
In addition to being a consistent goal scorer throughout his career, he is a responsible forward on the defensive side of center ice. Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett also used Doan a lot on the penalty kill, and that is another role that he would be able to thrive in with the Rangers.
5. Short-Term is Better Than Long-Term
In many scenarios, a long-term solution is better than a quick fix. However, this isn’t one of those scenarios for the Rangers. Since the Rangers finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, the team is built to win now.
Even though the Rangers have one of the youngest teams in the NHL, their window to win a Stanley Cup may only be for the next two seasons. With many key players’ contracts expiring after the 2013-14 season (Lundqvist, Callahan, Dan Girardi, Marian Gaborik), there is no guarantee that the core of the roster will stay intact beyond the next two seasons. By signing Doan, the Rangers would get a reliable scorer, and not have to worry about having a long-term effect on the salary cap.
Before Doan decides whether or not he will leave the only organization he has ever played for, he is waiting to see how likely it is that the Coyotes will remain in Phoenix. If Doan chooses to leave, he could be the prize of the offseason for the Rangers.
And if Doan comes to the Rangers and contributes, he could be getting a nice prize too: his first Stanley Cup.