Shane Doan and Alexander Semin are the highest-profile free agents left unsigned for the 2012-13 season. The forwards combined for 43 goals and 104 points last season — Doan lit the lamp 22 times for Phoenix; Semin scored 21 goals for Washington.
Both players have been on the market since July 1, though Doan only recently opened up his free agency (and we’re not even really sure to what degree) as he continues to hope he can re-sign in Phoenix. Semin, meanwhile, has received surprisingly little attention, despite 197 goals and a plus-65 rating in his career. The knock on the ex-Capitals sniper comes over his work ethic, especially in relation to defense.
But the Red Wings appear to need more help on the offense end and have, according to reports, at least reached out to the agents of each player. Which guy, Doan or Semin, would be a better fit in Hockeytown?
That’s the subject of our latest TDSS roundtable:
Andrew Tomlinson: Alexander Semin provides a little bit of a longer-term solution for the Red Wings’ scoring issues, but Shane Doan provides an immediate guarantee of production. The fact both players offer two very different routes is what makes it so very difficult to decide which would be a better fit for the team. Really, it depends where the organization thinks it is right now and whether they think they are one piece from going over the top or if it will require multiple guys.
Max DeMara: Though Shane Doan brings everything desired in a hockey player, I tend to lean more towards Alexander Semin for a long-term answer. At only 27 with immense skill, Semin should always be the first thought, especially seeing as he seems to be waiting with baited breath for an offer from the Detroit Red Wings. If Semin was offered a deal, signed and could be pushed by Mike Babcock and Pavel Datsyuk, he could become the most underrated move of the offseason. Especially if the Red Wings are able to add a solid defenseman via trade.
Chris Burke: I could care less about age in this debate. Give me the 35-year-old forward who goes all-out at both ends of the ice for 82 games over the 28-year-old slacker any day of the week. So, my answer is Doan. The Wings have some “grinders” like Danny Cleary or Todd Bertuzzi, who don’t bring a ton of speed or finesse to the table but can bang a bit. And they have some pure skill guys, like Mikael Samuelsson (and Jiri Hudler before him) who will sit up top and fire but don’t get into the corners a lot. What they don’t have are guys that can do both — Johan Franzen should be that player, but he usually isn’t. There are no question marks about Doan.
Rob Starrs: If you look at both guys head-to-head, they each present a lot of pluses. But on the surface, Shane Doan looks to be the safer choice.
Shane Doan is a veteran beast who can help motivate the Wings, something they haven’t really had that much of in a while. Steve Yzerman was the last real “motivator”, but he wasn’t a loud guy who comes into the room and throws a chair and yells and screams — that’s what kind of passion Doan can bring the Detroit Red Wings. I still vividly remember those crazy eyes he showcased two years ago in the first round — I laughed my butt off — but now I can see those demon eyes behind a winged wheel, and I like what I envision. I want a guy who wants it every second he’s on the ice, I want a guy who wants to put every single opponent through the boards every night. But mostly, I want a guy who wants the Cup so bad he can taste it, and the hard-nosed Doan is just what the Red Wings need.
AT: Personally, I love the idea of adding Doan, but it has to come with another move. Adding just him with no other defenseman to help keep the puck out of the net does not help this Detroit team at all, especially if Doan is only coming in for a one-year stop. A one-year stop on a team far from probably being able to take home the Cup would be a waste of a signing.
Which, despite my hesitance to bringing him in, leads me to Semin. He can give the Wings two to three years of production and allow them to establish the upfront scoring while they look for supporting pieces and attempt to shore up the back end. He is not as much of a known quantity as Doan, but he would probably be more of a build to win in a year or two type of move.
MD: Will Doan actually leave Phoenix? Would he come farther east to Detroit and pass up the potential opportunity to play in either Los Angeles or San Jose? That’s a gamble wrapped around too many variables. Unless Ken Holland has some definite inkling that Doan would choose the Red Wings over any one of his other “preferred destinations” (and as we’ve heard, he prefers several others, too) he should keep his options open with Semin and others on the trade market. Holland has entered dangerous territory now. If he misjudges this and swings and misses on both Semin and Doan, there will be even more summer unrest in Hockeytown, and fans will be waiting with pitchforks and torches.
RS: Semin is a bit of a gamble, I’m not going to get into the over-scrutinized topic of Semin’s work ethic. He is a highly skilled offensive player but doesn’t come close to the physicality or emotion of a Shane Doan, which is what the Wings need. But Semin’s playmaking and incredible goal-scoring ability cannot be overlooked, and it is something every team always needs. Semin and Pavel Datsyuk tore it up at the World Championships, so that might make the transition a lot easier. Do the the Red Wings need another skilled European finesse type of player? In my opinion, no, but if he comes here and scores 30-plus goals, the emotion and physicality will take care of themselves.
CB: I don’t think it does any harm for the Red Wings to explore the Doan possibility as far as they can. What else are they doing right now? Semin’s just sitting there waiting for offers and, so far as I can tell, Holland is pretty lukewarm about everyone else available.
I don’t think going after Doan or Semin precludes a move for a defenseman — and I think it’s imperative they find someone else on the blue line, even if it’s a guy that can play on the third pairing.
AT: For a reasonable cap hit, Detroit would be very happy with Semin if they don’t bring in another d-man; if they can bring in the defensive help they need, though, then it is Doan all the way.
MD: Either of the two should definitely be added, but the Red Wings cannot afford to wait around for Doan’s decision. There simply seems to be too many “if” variables with him at this point. If he leaves Phoenix … if he wants to play in Detroit … if he gets the deal he likes with the Red Wings and not somewhere else.
Detroit should take a gamble and move fast to sign Semin, adding a player with world-class skill that might simply need a sea change. Should they wait around, both players might simply pass them by. For a team in need of a definite upgrade, something has to be done soon either way.
RS: Lots of pros for both guys, the only cons I see with Doan are his age, since he’ll be 36 in October (psst, that’s not that old). He does play with a reckless style so he could be prone to injury. If Semin comes to Detroit, he must learn to be a better two-way player and he’s got to play with more urgency. Doan is the safest bet and also represents more of what the Wings are in need of. Semin is a high-risk, high-reward guy — he could put up 40 goals with Datsyuk, but if he has a bad streak and loses his way, he could be dropped to the third line and score 15 goals. I want Shane Doan on the Red Wings, they need his passion, his grit and they need his drive to win the Stanley Cup.