Again, Shane Doan.
If what David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail on Friday evening is true, Doan would want a 4-year, $30M deal.
Taking Doan in for a year or two for that price isn’t an awful idea. There are worse places for NHL teams to spend their money, for sure, but sometimes term matters more than price. The Alex Semin contract, for instance, is completely risk-free at one year. If the player doesn’t work out, cut ties at the end of the year.
But any deal Shane Doan will sign, under the current collective bargaining agreement rules, will be a 35+ contract. You take Doan on for four years, and you’re stuck with that high salary cap hit even if Doan was to retire. Teams ought to have other things to think about rather than securing Shane Doan’s financial future.
Using the cap inflator application rolled out by good guy @draglikepull, in today’s terms, the $4.55M contract Doan signed with the Coyotes in the summer of 2007 would be worth $6.35M going into next year. Even in cap percentage terms, Doan is looking for a 10% increase on his deal.
However Doan may even be able to last for four years. You never know with some of these big, wily veterans whose games aren’t determined too much by skill. Doan had 17 even strength goals last season, which matches his 2006 total and behind his post-lockout high of 21 in 2009. A decrease in powerplay scoring and a three-year period of a low shooting percentage have dropped his overall totals.
21 goals is not a huge problem, but 21 goals a year, even 25, is not worth $7M without some extra tangible incentive. As I wrote about the Coyote a month ago:
His possession numbers aren’t amazing, but they’ve been consistently good since 2007. His Relative Corsi on a season has never dipped below 2.4 per 60 minutes, but never above 6.8, either. He unimpressively gets the job done, but he doesn’t necessarily do the job of a star, just the job of a meticulous veteran.
There’s nothing wrong with Doan, and there’s nothing wrong with making him the final piece to your team. I think a few teams, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, possibly Detroit, can make the space available to sign a winger who is nothing if not reliable and workmanlike.
Still, there’s reasons for those teams to give Doan the term he is demanding. Few players over 30 make crazy money, or are signed to these deals when they’re 30, bypassing the player’s prime years. Jarome Iginla was 32 when he signed a 5-year deal, taking him through his 36-year old season next year. Brian Campbell’s contract ends at 37, signed when he was 29, but defencemen tend to peak later.
Chris Pronger was signed as a 35-year old to five years and his deal, worth $6M in today’s terms, well, who knows whether it would be more beneficial to have a defenceman like Pronger in the lineup versus being able to control his cap-hit via LTIR. It’s an awful way to look at a player, but it’s business. The Bruins probably will get some form of amnesty for Tim Thomas, who bailed on the third year of a $5M contract.
Just because a move that has been made completely without precedence doesn’t necessarily make it the wrong thing to do. The closest comparables to the contract Doan is reportedly looking for, Pronger and Thomas, went on Stanley Cup runs during their tenures, and both players were more than hangers-on.
On the same token, I can’t help but think that term is an expensive price to pay that may be worth being spent in other areas for years 2, 3 and 4 of the deal. Doan is designed to be a complimentary piece, not a primary one. Every year in its history, the Stanley Cup has been won without a player named Shane Doan on its roster, so expecting him to provide a sure finals berth is probably as misguided as a team giving a 35-year old a four-year deal.