Two weeks after his self-imposed deadline of July 9, as he awaits news on the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, free agent right winger Shane Doan finally started meeting with other teams interested in his services.
Doan, who was in New York last week to attend the NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining negotiations, took the opportunity to meet with Rangers management on Friday and travelled to Philadelphia the next day for a meeting with Flyers management.
Doan’s priority remains to re-sign with the Coyotes, but he’s already received contract offers from several clubs. These recent meetings indicate he’s preparing for the possibility of moving on if there is no resolution in the Coyotes ownership situation soon.
However, the Rangers and Flyers aren’t his only options. His agent claimed the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres were among several clubs still in the mix.
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland is also hoping for a face-to-face meeting with Doan soon.
Should the Flyers sign Doan, and if their 14-year, $110-million offer sheet to Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber goes unmatched, they’ll have to clear some cap space before the start of this season (whenever that may be) to comfortably absorb the two contracts.
It’s expected they will place Chris Pronger (post-concussion symptoms) on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) to free up nearly $5 million to take on Weber’s anticipated $7.8-million average annual salary.
The Flyers would have to find more cap space to sign Doan, perhaps by trading away a salaried roster player.
Prior to Shea Weber’s signing with the Flyers last Wednesday, the New York Rangers were among several teams that unsuccessfully attempted to land him via trade or offer sheet.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, their efforts failed because Weber was unwilling to live in Manhattan.
If the Flyers successfully sign away Weber from the Predators (who have until Wednesday night to match), Brooks believes Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson will try to use that as leverage in trade talks with the Rangers over right winger Rick Nash.
Rangers GM Glen Sather has been interested in Nash for months, but is unwilling to pay the Blue Jackets’ steep asking price. Howson may be hoping the Flyers’ addition of Weber will sway Sather into reconsidering his position.
Brooks also mentioned Doan’s visit with Rangers management on Friday and claimed Sather’s intent is to sign him in addition to acquiring Nash.
If Sather can land those two, it would significantly shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference to the Rangers’ favor.
A theory making the rounds suggests if the Predators cannot afford to match the Flyers’ offer sheet to Weber, they’d try to work out a trade to mollify a fan base upset over losing both Weber and Ryan Suter, who signed with Minnesota earlier this month.
The supposed deal would have the Predators offer back two of the four compensatory first round draft picks they’d receive from the Flyers in exchange for a couple of players.
If the Flyers need to free up cap space to bring in an additional player such as Doan, they would consider it.
For now, of course, it’s only speculation as the hockey world awaits the Predators’ decision.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.