Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan will not be brought back by the Coyotes for another season. Doan is a rarity in the league, especially ever since free agency allowed players to freely move around. He has played every game of his NHL career for the same franchise. That franchise has had three different names, but he’s been with them all the way.
Now Doan has a choice to make: retire having only played for one franchise, or take a shot at winning a Stanley Cup? The speculation has already begun on where he could land.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning being seen as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, the two have inevitably been linked. So here is the case for and against adding Doan to the Lightning roster.
The Case For Shane Doan
The Lightning would get the impact of having an Old Guy Without A Cup on the team. During the most recent playoffs, Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown fame ranked his top 10 of these guys. Doan didn’t make the list this season simply because he wasn’t traded to a playoff team at the deadline.
Doan would surely rank as one of the top two if he joined the Lightning and they made it back to the playoffs. The last time the Lightning had such a player on the roster was Brenden Morrow in 2014-15. The Lightning nearly pulled it off but fell just short of the goal.
The Case Against Shane Doan
Speaking of Brenden Morrow, that’s pretty much what he would be for the Lightning. In a decreased role for the Coyotes last season, his goal scoring dropped way off, though his assists did keep in line with the past few seasons. Doan’s possession numbers are generally pretty good compared to the rest of the Coyotes forwards, but he’s still far from being great with a sub-50% Corsi For.
Doan has also relied on the power play for his goal scoring the past four seasons, with 30 of his 71 goals coming on the man advantage. With so much forward talent for the Lightning, it’s impossible to see Doan breaking into the power play lineup. That bodes even worse for his ability to continue producing.
While Doan does have 1500 games in the NHL, in all of that time, he only has 55 career playoff games. He does have Olympic Games and World Championship experience, but that’s not the same as the playoffs.
Doan is also 40 years old. The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr was the only player older than Doan to compete in the NHL in 2016-17. Doan has been reasonably healthy throughout his career. He has consistently missed around ten games the last four seasons though. It’s only inevitable that he’s going to break down at some point. That risk becomes even greater if he’s playing a fourth-line banger role.
There’s also a big question of how he would adapt to playing far fewer minutes as a fourth liner. He’s averaged 18:38 throughout his career (at least the part of it where time on ice was tracked) and has kept that average around 18 to 19 minutes late in his career. Last season was the first where he took a big step down to 15 minutes per game. Can he handle another step down to just 10 or 11 minutes a game? For comparison, even with penalty kill time, Paquette only averaged 11:31 last season. You’d have to think Doan’s usage would be similar or even a little less than that.
As great as a story it would be to win a Cup for Doan, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Lightning. We already have a lot of young guys that can step into roster spots. Even though Doan would be cheap, it’s hard to see him improving the roster over say Gabriel Dumont in the same role. This team isn’t as young and inexperienced as it was when Morrow was brought on board. The team has leaders in Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat, and in his own grumpy way, Nikita Kucherov. Not to mention the veteran presences of Anton Stralman and Braydon Coburn.
Besides, it sounds like we’ll be re-signing our designated Old Guy Without A Cup when Peter Budaj signs the two-year contract extension that has been reported.
Assuming it was a cheap contract, do you want Shane Doan to join the Tampa Bay Lightning for 2017-18?
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