To win or not to win, that is the question lingering for the New York Rangers organization. The goal of creating an outstanding team has been accomplished, almost. The other goal, to win the Stanley Cup should have been lock, stock and barrel, but didn’t happen. The key to winning often includes a high-stakes bet. New York has never been shy on taking chances, but can they afford to gamble with Shane Doan?
New York has gambled before and lost with defenseman Wade Redden to a tune of $6.5 million. Redden never elevated the team the way Doan could. It is doubtful that Doan would flop into the AHL so quickly.
According to Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, a four-year contract worth $7 million per season has been offered by a mystery team outside of New York. Pittsburgh lost out on the Rick Nash and Zach Parise sweepstakes, so they might be in the game for a Doan deal.
The veteran winger has narrowed his team shopping list down to the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks. If Doan becomes a Blueshirt, it could be exactly what New York needs to dominated the Eastern Conference. The stats don’t sing the same tune as the contract though. This is Doan’s third straight season not reaching 30 goals, plus a 50-point total season, his lowest since the 2001-02 season.
The 36-year-old could land in New York if GM Glen Sather can scrape together a 4-year deal. Doan’s criterion includes one deal and that’s it. He doesn’t want to be tossed around and seeks a team to call home. Originally, a two-year deal with New York was thrown into the pit with little musings over Doan’s agenda. The Rangers may not be able to take the hit and only offer a four-year deal worth $28 million.
While Sather would like another big name in the Big Apple, Doan has been perceived as the potential demise of the balance the Rangers have sought to achieve. Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh will need contracts too. New York will need to build up the bank to sign Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, rookie Chris Kreider and the must-have Henrik Lundqvist. The Rick Nash deals whet the appetite to win big.
The downside to the deal for Doan would erase many of those opportunities to bring these key players back. Wasn’t the point to build a strong core and add another big name after the Brad Richards signing last season? Rick Nash was that deal. Since the Nash deal went so well, adding another legend would cash in big for the Rangers. Doan could be a valuable asset if he signs a two-year deal. If New York doesn’t sign him, then Vancouver and Pittsburgh wind up looking like geniuses, if either team can hoist the Cup.
The Rangers’ odds of winning the Stanley Cup sit at 9/1 compared to 12/1 prior to the Rick Nash signing, putting New York just behind Pittsburgh. Do the New York fans really want to see Shane Doan join the Atlantic Division as a Penguin? When and if Sidney Crosby returns to the lineup, Doan will demonstrate why he’s a good option. Sather may take that type of gamble to win the Cup even if he has to offer a 4-year contract. If Doan can secure a Stanley Cup championship for the Rangers, the deal should be done.
Doan has moved on from committing to the struggling Phoenix Coyotes. The 2013-14 season looms and he has to make a decision. The move isn’t as much about the money as it is finding a place for his family to settle. Doan is not the type of player who will cash in a ticket and bail.
The Rangers have the cash to spend on such a contributing player. Reportedly, a deal worth $7.5 million per season is the rate to acquire the winger. The revenue that a Nash-Doan duo could bring to the franchise in jersey sales and tickets would balance the budget. Doan is hitting up the teams who can afford to pay the price in larger, more secure markets, who understand the value of the Doan dollar.
Doan wants to conclude his career with a championship, not a “what could have been.”
To all of those naysayers on the Doan issue, consider that Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin; Vancouver has Daniel and Henrik Sedin; New York’s dynamic duo is Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Is that enough for the Rangers to leave the competition begging for more?
Heidi has been a Rangers fan since the Gretzky years. While focusing on The Blue Line and hockey’s stalwart defenders, Heidi also connects with the human side of hockey. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog Don’t Cross My Blue Line.