Getty ImagesHere we are on July 21 and NHL free agency has slowed to such a crawl that the Shea Weber offer sheet news this week was like a shot of adrenaline. The list of available unrestricted free agents has been whittled down of many of its top names and we're left wondering where Alex Semin and Shane Doan will wind up.
Both are unique situations and while one could be ending soon, the other might drag on for a few more weeks.
A player with Semin's production would have been signed, sealed and delivered already, but the perception about him has scared teams off. On July 1, the opening of the free agent period, Semin was ripped to shreds on TSN by Marc Crawford and Pierre McGuire, echoing a sentiment that's made its way around the hockey world.
That sentiment reached Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, but while he's expressed interest in Semin's services, he's also being cautious. He told Chip Alexander of the News and Observer earlier this month that the Hurricanes would be interested in Semin on a short contract, adding, "We wouldn't want to get locked in to anything, because we've all heard the stories about him."
Rutherford reiterated his interest on Friday during the team's FunFest, saying he's spoken with Semin's agent in the past week several times.
Semin's scored 408 points in 469 career NHL games. Either most NHL GMs have heard the same stories Rutherford has or the contract demands are too long/rich for their tastes, or both. At 28, he'd obviously like a long-term deal, but something of the shorter variety seems likely to be more appealing to GMs, like a carrot dangling in front of -- in the eyes of some -- an unmotivated player at times.
While GMs have stayed away from Semin, Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan has been the darling of free agency, garnering interest from almost every NHL team. As the Coyotes still wait to have their future sorted out, Doan is exploring his options should it come to him having to leave the only organization he's ever known.
Doan was in New York City on Friday taking part in this week's CBA talks. While in town, he visited with the New York Rangers, one of the many teams that have expressed interest in the 35-year old forward. He's reportedly set to visit with the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
While he waits to hear news from potential Coyotes owner Greg Jamison about the status of his bid to purchase the team, Doan's agent, Terry Bross, told the Arizona Republic this week that he expects his client to begin paring down the list of interested teams soon and explore his options from there. Bross said six official offers have come in so far.
As Elliotte Friedman noted in his final "30 Thoughts" column of the season this week, the interest in Doan is coming from many teams, from pretenders to contenders, and at his age time is running out to win a Stanley Cup. If teams like Pittsburgh and Vancouver are aggressively pursuing, would he uproot from Phoenix on a multi-year deal to go to a contender? He's only ever known one organization in his career and now settled with a family and ranch, wouldn't staying on the west coast, should he in fact decide to play somewhere else, make more sense?
The Coyotes will have every last opportunity to re-sign Doan, but the question is how murky do the waters in Phoenix's ownership situation have to be for the team's captain to finally decide to move on elsewhere?
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy