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2012 NHL Free Agency: Should Dallas Stars Be Interested In Shane Doan?

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[Update: Here are some further thoughts on this situation, after a conversation with DBD's own Josh Lile.]

Doan has stated that he wants to remain in the West and would prefer to stay close to home. Going by those parameters, then Dallas makes sense. Los Angeles doesn't have the room, Detroit makes sense but is far from home, Vancouver is the same situation. Dallas would be the ideal "location" and the Gaglardi connection is still there.

At the same time, the Stars still don't seem to have the roster space. Doan would want a top-six role, reportedly, and the Stars top six is already set. There's always the possibility of a Michael Ryder trade, especially for a defenseman, but that would still equate to effectively reversing from the plan that was apparently in place and complete.

[End Update.]

We're over a week into free agency and it seems the frenzy over a single player's decision is building up again. Shane Doan, who has scored over 50 points a season every year since 1999 and has played for the Coyotes organization since being drafted in 1995, is suddenly the hottest commodity left in a very thin market. While some sit and wonder why Alex Semin is still un-signed, the rest of the hockey world is now waiting on the decision that Doan will have to make about his future.

Doan has been the long-time captain of the Coyotes and the face of a franchise that has seen incredible ups and downs since moving to Phoenix in 1996. Most of those ups and downs have come in the past four years, as the Coyotes became one of the hidden gems of the Western Conference and made it all the way to the Conference Finals this past season. But continuing ownership issues and the worst relationship issues with a host city as there might possibly exist in sports has the future of the franchise in serious doubt, and Doan could be looking for another team with which to finish his career.

Doan wanted to give the Coyotes until July 9 until he made his decision about his future with the team and with no resolution in sight to the continuing debacle of a sale, many across the NHL are now waiting to see which team is able to land Doan, who has scored over 300 goals in his career and comes with that perfect blend of grit, tenacity and goal-scoring ability in a veteran that potentially contending teams covet so highly.

The question is, should the Dallas Stars be one of those interested teams?

Ever since it became clear that Doan could hit the open market, the Dallas Stars were considered one of the premium destinations of choice for the veteran right winger. The Stars, at the time, had a wide open spot for such a player on the right wing and with the addition of Ray Whitney, it was clear the Stars were looking to add that proven veteran leadership as the franchise transitions to a new core of young players.

There was also the personal factor to consider, that Doan is business partners and good friends with Tom Gaglardi and has had nothing but good things to say about the Stars owner over the past year. It was thought that Doan would prefer to finish out his career with a team with stable ownership, and what better way to do that than by playing for an owner you personally know and trust.

If Doan's decision was being made this time last week, then the Stars certainly could have been a factor in the number of teams that make sense as possible destinations. Yet Doan wanted to wait and the Stars have since filled that roster spot; while Stars fans could certainly want Doan to be a part of this team, it's not certain there's a spot available for him at this point.

Consider how the four lines are currently shaping out:

Eriksson - Benn - Jagr
Whitney - Roy - Ryder
Morrow - Eakin - Vincour
Nystrom - Fiddler - Garbutt

As it stands now, Doan would have to slot into a third-line role with the Stars -- and he would certainly make a very valuable addition to such a line, especially with Morrow on the opposite wing (we'll forget that Cody Eakin could skate circles around both on the ice, for now)., And it's likely that Doan would be accepting a third line role anyway, especially if he heads to a contending team like Detroit or Vancouver. There's been speculation that Doan would want to find a top-six role, yet I see his desire being more about the locker-room, the franchise and the possibility of real success over the next few years to be the biggest factor.

Which is exactly why Doan doesn't make much sense to the Stars: I'm not certain he'd want to come to Dallas. While the Gaglardi situation is certainly a factor, Doan has a chance to go to a team that can realistically give him a shot at the Stanley Cup and while Dallas has certainly improved, this is a team that is still far off from being able to make such a promise.

There's no doubt that Doan wants to stay in Phoenix and his loyalty to the franchise should be admired But if he is having to make a decision to move on, then I don't see how he doesn't pick the team that gives him the biggest chance at success -- especially if there are as many as 11 teams interested.

The Stars have been able to create a roster for next season that allows the team to "bridge the gap" to the youth that is the focus of the franchise, but one more two-year contract to an aging veteran (without moving someone else) seems as if it would be too much to allow the sort of flexibility the Stars are hoping for in developing their young players. There's also the issue that Doan could be looking for more than a two-year contract, something I doubt the Stars would be willing to give.

Of course, the Stars are currently doing their best to create the most competitive team possible for this next season while allowing the young players to continue to develop without pressure to perform immediately. Perhaps Doan is seen as another part of that puzzle; I just don't see how Doan would be interested, even if the Stars were. We shall see.