The Vancouver Sun reports that the Vancouver Canucks are interested in Shane Doan but are also considering fellow free agent Jason Arnott if their first option – Doan – doesn't work out.
Shane Doan is the club's top option but if he decides to skate elsewhere, or if he decides to remain in Phoenix, it's believed that Vancouver will look toward veteran Jason Arnott to help anchor the team's third line. It's been reported that Arnott has already spoken with the Canucks though the talks are believed to be in the early stages. As for Doan, it's also been reported that team management met with him on July 31st.
Which rumored skater would fit best into the Vancouver rotation – Doan or Arnott?
Shane Doan must feel like the prettiest girl in school as teams scramble to try and sign the best free agent left in a saturated market. Phoenix is desperate to keep Doan with the Coyotes. Meanwhile, a new team is rumored to be connected to Doan seemingly each day which has continued to drive Doan's asking price from sizable to ridiculous.
The latest rumors have suggested that Doan's price is in the neighborhood of four years, $30 million. Currently, the Canucks aren't in a position to take on a contract that big as Doan would have an average hit against the cap in the $7.5 million range, depending on how the deal is structured. As it stands, the Canucks have just under $2.5 million left before they hit the salary cap meaning that they would be forced to dump salary elsewhere if Doan was indeed brought in (Roberto Luongo, we're looking at you).
Would Shane Doan make sense for Vancouver? Outside of the mostly unjustified price tag, yes. The Canucks are searching for a gritty, veteran skater to add an additional element of offense to the team's already impressive attack. Doan could cover a lot of bases for the Canucks. He can provide offense (he's averaged 20 goals a season in each of the last three years), he can make the big hit and he can chip in on the team's power play. If Doan leaves Phoenix, Vancouver would be a sensible destination outside of the fact the Canucks would be forced to make an additional move(s) to fit him in. Considering the Canucks have made it clear Luongo's services are no longer needed, that space might be pretty easy to find.
However, if Shane Doan decides to stay in Phoenix or play somewhere else the Canucks have a pretty solid Plan B – Jason Arnott.
Arnott had an impressive 2011-12 season offensively despite being used in a grinder's role for most of the year by the St. Louis Blues. Arnott capitalized on his few chances, scoring 17 goals and 17 assists in 72 games. At 37, Arnott isn't a youngster but that doesn't seem to be an issue for the Canucks given their pursuit of the 35-year-old Doan (Doan turns 36 in October).
In a lot of ways Jason Arnott makes more sense for the Vancouver Canucks. First, Arnott would be secured through a much, much smaller contract than the one needed to secure Doan. Arnott's previous contract with St. Louis was a one-year, $2.5 million deal. A similar deal, perhaps one that's a year longer, should be enough to win over Arnott. A team that's pressed against the salary cap ceiling like the Canucks are would welcome a smaller contract in order to allow further wiggle room to add if the situation calls for it.
In terms of offensive production, Arnott and Doan aren't separated by that significant of a margin. Doan's 2011-12 resulted in 22 goals and 50 total points playing on the top line in Phoenix. Arnott's 2011-12 resulted in 17 goals and 34 points playing on a low, grinding line. If Arnott was surrounded by a bit better talent on his line it's not too far of a reach to assume he could put up numbers that are pretty close to Doan's all while coming at a much more affordable price.
Arnott is more sensible in terms of value. Doan is more sensible in terms of upside. Both men have experience. Both men are familiar with the physical side of the game. Vancouver would be an improved club with either of the two but it makes more sense financially to pursue the option that won't break the bank – Jason Arnott.