As some of you probably know, Shane Doan has been rumoured as a potential target for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We here at Pension Plan Puppets have responded with a resounding "NOOOOOOOO!". I mean, more like Shane DOAN'T, am I right? In all seriousness though, a player like Shane Doan will always be connected with the Leafs. Why? Well it's quite simple. He's a name, even though he produces at a second line clip (Yeah, we don't nearly have enough second line wingers...), he's a name nonetheless. The media loves names, since they can insert them into any narrative they see fit. Why bother actually writing a new piece when you can just use the same one over and over, just insert new names. If you join me after the jump, I will compare Shane Doan and the roster spot he'd be taking, which would be that of Clarke MacArthur's. I will also touch on media narratives and how they affect us Leaf fans.
Shane Doan is an interesting player. I personally like him, and if this were 2007 or 2008, and the Leafs were a playoff team, I'd love to have him here. But that's the problem, it's 2012, and the Leafs aren't a playoff team. Doan is older, and while we do need veterans, certainly not at his price. Shane Doan made approximately four and half million dollars. Just over a million more than Clarke MacArthur. What could we get with that difference? Well MacArthur had 103 points in the last two seasons, compared to Doan's 110. Not really much of a difference, considering that a million dollars in cap space means a bit more flexibility when it comes to deals and future signings. Doan is also eight years older than MacArthur, which in hockey is a pretty big gap. I can't back this up by any metric or stat, but I'm 90% sure that MacArthur has Doan beat in terms of skating ability and speed, which is a very useful asset. If you look at the fancy stats, Doan has a Corsi On of 4.43, a pretty decent number if I understand all of that properly. MacArthur has a slightly less impressive 3.74, not a huge gap, but it is lower. However, when it comes to possession numbers (Corsi REL, which shows what players drove the play relative to their teammates), MacArthur beats Doan with a 7.2 compared to Shane Doan's 5.8. This comparison is actually what interested me most about these two. Doan played for a team that eventually made it to the conference finals, and yet, he wasn't nearly as good as driving the play and puck possession as Mac A. It should be considered that arguably, Phoenix has a weaker top six than the Leafs do. Add on to that, Doan has barely more goals and points than MacArthur, which indicates to me that at the end of the day, he's not that much, if at all an upgrade for the Leafs current roster and situation. I'd rather keep Mac A and the cap savings, and look elsewhere for improvement.
One of PPP's villains, Howard Berger, suggested that the Leafs should acquire Doan, at the cost of trading Phil Kessel (Loads handgun). That started a flurry of responses, some against the very notion of having Shane Doan, even without trading away our best player (Smart people). Others however, liked the idea of adding Doan (Dumb people). Their reasons are the same as we have always heard: "We need more leadership. We need more toughness. We need established players.". Right off the bat, I'm going to quash these concerns once and for all. The Leafs are nowhere close to being a contender. When they are, then they should start adding "grit" and "leadership". Until then, Toronto has way too many gaping roster holes to even worry about those issues. We lack any sort of reliable goaltending. We lack a #1 centre. We lack defensive defencemen. We lack almost everything, so Leaf fans should cool their jets for awhile when it comes to the "good ol' hockey players". We aren't getting them anytime soon. Especially a player like Doan. He isn't a goalie, he isn't a centre, he isn't a defenceman. He's a second line winger at best, and we have four of those.
Now to the media. Yes, the evil MSM. If you pay attention to anything the media has been writing or saying about the Leafs, then you should know that the "needs" of the team change each day according to them. Oh sure, the articles are the same nonsense, but they just cycle through the issues and players. It doesn't matter if their proposed solutions are complete bullshit. It fits their narrative god damnit! They have papers to print, articles to write, tv shows to air. What are they going to do, research their topic? INCONCEIVABLE! As lightly as I may be taking this, it's actually a problem. You see, when the majority of Leaf fans become frustrated, they look to the hockey writers and personalities for answers and opinions. This is where it becomes problematic. The media creates what is called a "narrative" which is essentially, a continuing story. For an objective analysis of a sports team, you can't have narratives. Why? Well it becomes biased and self serving. The story of the team, the season, the league will always be changing. So narratives shouldn't exist right? Well wrong when it comes to the mainstream media. Case in point, Shane Doan. There have been numerous media personalities who have made it clear that Toronto should pick him up, and make room for him. Do they really believe in that? Probably not, but they need to complete their pre-written articles, so lets just plug someone in who can bodycheck sometimes, and has this mystical "leadership" thing.
All in all, Shane Doan doesn't fit, at all. Sure, he's a likable player. He's good, not great. But he's old, he's expensive, and he's bound to regress. So instead of hammering this issue into the ground, why not offer up a solution? There's a few actually. #1, we can sign Alex Semin, move either Lupul or MacArthur in a package for a goalie or a #1 centre, which would fill a dire need, while dealing away a position we have abundance in. Would Semin sign here? Probably not, but he makes way too much sense. Something I can't say about Doan. Semin's possession numbers are also damn good, with a Corsi REL of 11 (!) and a Corsi ON of 5.21. The Leafs already have shooters, but any team can never get enough puck possession players. Another solution is to just leave our wingers where they are, maybe trade one of them, along with a prospect or two for a position we really need. None of this requires Doan, at all. At most, he'd give us a year, MAYBE two, of decent hockey. But at the cost of giving up a solid winger who has plenty of gas left in the tank? No thanks.
Glove tap to Behind The Net and Capgeek for the stats and contract details. Also, if I am misusing the stats in this article, please let me know. I won't take offense to criticism.