Of all the players in the National Hockey League yet to win a Stanley Cup, there are a few that standout as more deserving for one reason or another. Many players will go their entire career and never even get a sniff of the Cup these three players are inching close and closer to that sad eventuality. Daniel Alfredsson, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan have all seen a lot and all to often been a super-concentration of one or more of the following on their team: talent, drive, character.
Shane Doan was drafted in 1995, seventh overall by the Original Winnipeg Jets. A year after he entered the NHL, the team was uprooted from the Canadian plains to the desert southwest. Financial distress has been the norm. Chaos, disorder and despair have been the order of the day on the operational front from head coaches all the way up the chain. Players who were drafted high by the team refusing to sign there. Through it all Doan has been everything to the team. Captain, 30 goal man, rock of the special teams and physical presence are just some of the hats he’s worn all at once over the years. It’s hard to imagine the team still existing without Doan.
Drafted four slots behind him is another captain and franchise icon. Jarome Iginla. Say those two words to any fan of the game and immediately the image of a hard skating, high scoring, hit machine spring to mind. Iginla is perennial member of the 30 goal club who should cash in on his 500th goal early this season it is somewhat scary to contemplate how many more points he would have racked up in his career if he’d ever had a legitimate number one center to play with. Rarely does a winger annually lead their team in points, and yet he has. He’s done it at nearly a point per game pace sans a high end pivot since his first season.
Daniel Alfredsson may just be the most remarkable of these three based on where he came from. Gothenberg Sweden is a long way from the Canadian capital city. Today Gothenberg is roughly half the size of the hockey mad Ontario city where Aldredsson has played more than 1000 games. A sixth round pick hailing from Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League he leads the second highest scorer in his draft class (Patrik Elias) by over two hundred points. While Alfredsson was close to a cup win once, management retention strategies led to one of the best defensive units of the last generation trickling away to other teams including Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara.
The question surrounding all three of these players is: Will the stay? Iginla with a seven million dollar contract for this and one more season is probably the hardest to move in terms of money, but he’s also the youngest and highest scoring of the trio. With his 39th birthday just a couple months away Alfredsson is the eldest, and his team is at the low ebb of a rebuild that could take year that just aren’t on his clock. Doan has repeatedly stated his desire to remain in Phoenix and has been a part of the community since touching down, but no one as competitive as he is could be satisfied with a career that ended short of the Stanley Cup.
Each of these men controls their own destiny in terms of movement, Iginla and Doan have no movement clauses, and Alfredsson is his teams captain and most respected player. While I can’t see any of the three making a lateral move, I have to wonder if a team favored to win it all came calling if they might all sign off on the move. Iginla playing on the right and Ovechkin on the left would be stunning. Alfredsson taking passes from Joe Thronton is nothing to sneeze at either. And Shane Doan would probably take almost a full shift to endear himself to the crowds in Boston taking the ice to Patrice Bergeron’s right.