Although GM Glen Sather would not completely comply during yesterday's post-Rick Nash press conference and admit that the New York Rangers are heavily after free agent forward Shane Doan, the rumors that have made headlines the past few weeks do not deny the fact that the 35-year-old veteran is the next major target on Mr. Sather's list. While Doan is not entirely open to leaving the Phoenix Coyotes organization just yet, he has initiated talks with other teams around the NHL, and was out on the East Coast this past weekend taking a tour of the Rangers' training facility in addition to the city of Manhattan.
But you would think the acquisition of Nash would now bring the two sides even closer than they previously were. Doan is ring-less in his 16-season career, and obviously would like to have a shot a winning a Stanley Cup before retirement rolls around and gobbles him up. That's not to say that the Coyotes are not a legitimate contender, but they haven't made any moves this summer of the magnitude that the Blueshirts did yesterday.
Likewise, Sather must be licking his lips pondering the thought of acquiring an elite goal scorer in Nash and then soon after reeling in a reliable veteran to fill an important depth spot in the lineup. Adding Doan to the squad would pretty much have the offense set-in-stone for the 2012-13 season (if such a season does exist), as the Rangers would then have that perfect balance of veteran leadership and youth as well as top six players and bottom six players. Without a doubt, they would be a much more threatening team offensively than they were a season ago when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
And the salary cap, at the moment, is not an issue for New York whatsoever. As I pointed out yesterday, the Rangers still have over $13 million in cap space to play with, and as Sather noted in his press conference, the trade-off of Dubinsky, Anisimov and Erixon for Nash was pretty much a salary wash. There is plenty of room to sign Doan and still have some cash to allocate for a possible acquisition of a steady fifth/sixth defenseman for the back-end that the team would love to have for the upcoming season as well.
But before then, Doan is the main focus right now, as scoring would become a major issue in the second half of the season in 2012, especially in the playoffs. Doan is a guaranteed 20-goal scorer, and several times in his career even reached 30 or at least neared it. What would he be able to put up on a team like the Rangers, who have a more stacked offensive squad than the Yotes?
Money does not seem to be an issue with Doan at this point, either, but the length of his contract will be. At 35, the Rangers would preferably give him no more than two years I am assuming. But will he be looking for more to finish out his career? Only time will tell.
Either way, Sather's going to be pushing hard to get Doan in a Rangers sweater for next season, especially after the Nash acquisition, so that he could finally put together a near perfect offensive blend for 2012-13.