David Pollak reports that a "well-placed source" has confirmed to him that the Sharks have dropped out of the Shane Doan sweepstakes after deciding not to offer the 35-year-old forward the 4th contract year that his camp is interested in. This strongly supports earlier speculation by the New York Post's Larry Brooks that DoanWatch 2012 is down to three teams should the Coyotes captain choose to leave Phoenix: the Penguins, Rangers and Canucks.
Refusing to offer a 4-year contract to a player who will turn 36 in the scheduled regular season's first month was definitely the right move here. Even the three-year deal for roughly $13.5 million that was rumored to be on the table from the Sharks organization would have been a fairly substantial risk, albeit one tempered a bit by the fact that almost all of the Sharks' big-ticket contracts expire before what would have been the final season of Doan's deal.
Granted, it's also perfectly reasonable to suggest that taking a risk on a player of Doan's caliber is what the team needed to become truly competitive with the Kings for the Pacific Division title and on the same level as some of the other contenders in the West like Vancouver, St. Louis and Chicago. I don't believe any one player can really have that kind of an impact, particularly one who's shown signs of age-related decline in recent seasons. At the same time, it's hard to argue adding Doan wouldn't have helped given the club's lack of forward depth and the likelihood playing with better play-driving linemates than Mikkel Boedker or Daymond Langkow and seeing time on a hugely superior power play would have increased Doan's production at least somewhat. Regardless, it's almost certainly not happening at this point and the Sharks need to focus on spending the remainder of the offseason (however long that may be) acquiring third-line help, a difficult task in what's now a dried-up free agent market.