There is value in veteran players. That goes without saying, However, when you look at what that veteran brings, you have to really think about what they are going after. Are they in it for the betterment of the team or are they doing it to finally fulfill a personal goal?? It’s a fine line and really in the eye of the beholder or what a fan or management deem as a solid reason to bring those kind of players on-board.
Where I’m coming from stems from what the NHL dot com put out this week in Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla still wanting to play, but contemplating retirement knowing their pickings could be slim. Now, these are two players who have contributed a lot in their journeys, especially Doan– who had stuck with the Winnipeg 1.0/Phoenix/Arizona franchise through thick and thin before getting the Kirk Van Houten treatment (and maybe rightfully so). For Iginla, he brought a lot to the table in Calgary, being the heart-and-soul for the Flames franchise when that team was in the dumps. Iginla brought life to the Flames team, culminating in the unforgettable 2004 Stanley Cup playoff run.
Yet, in their advanced age– both at 40– they both want to finally win the Stanley Cup. It’s a noble pursuit that the other 600 players in the NHL have, as well. Yet, it seems the other players know that there is a means to an end. If they are able to play their part in the team scheme, they’d be able to get there as a team. Most team’s managements know that you need to have people in it for the long haul to keep the window open for multiple years.
This is where the disconnect is when it comes to Iginla and Doan. While they may bring leadership, they’re good for maybe one season– if that– before they are moving on as they hear their Cup clock ticking towards the end of their careers. Iginla has at least chased the Cup and had his best chances in Pittsburgh and Boston a few seasons ago. Iginla’s time in Colorado was a stall and wasted some good years of his career. For Doan, he had chances to get out– but for one reason or another; he decided to do the noble thing and stay with the Coyotes…which really got him far with the whole loyalty thing this summer, huh??
Management can’t shake up the chemistry for a one-and-done kind of veteran. Someone like Patrick Marleau signing a three-year deal with Toronto is the kind of deal that helps for the three-year term and gives a very young team trying to find their identity. In a case like Doan and Iginla, they want to go to a place that has an identity, has the chemistry, and they almost want to ride on the coattails of the hard-work that team has created just to get something they feel would complete their NHL resume.
For the short-term, they are not an answer. They will not get the contracts they want and if they want to return to the NHL, they’ll have to take a lesser deal with a lesser team and then hope they perform enough to be a deadline pick-up and maybe get on the bandwagon for a Cup run at the end of the year. The question is whether or not they’re willing to take the lesser deal with the lesser team to maybe….MAYBE…get a sniff at the Cup. At this point in time, I doubt we will have an arena tour for their last ride, but they did leave a lasting impression on a lot of people throughout their career if it is the end.