For 19 years, Shane Doan has been the consummate professional. He’s the only player to be with the Arizona Coyotes throughout their entire existence, and has seen the team go through both great and bad times.
He’s been the leader in a dysfunctional clubhouse for the past three seasons that has seen the team not only miss the playoffs, but stumble down the standings year after year. Now, general manager Don Maloney has his team in full rebuild mode as they enter a crucial offseason for the club.
Roster changes as well as a coaching change could be in order for an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since appearing in the Western Conference Finals in 2012. For their captain, that means the thought of whether or not to stay for another rebuild is currently taking up a big part of his mind.
Doan will be 39 when the 2015-16 regular season begins, and has just a single year left on his contract. He’s clearly towards the end of his All-Star career which means his window of opportunity to win a championship is closing fast.
Both Doan and Maloney have stated that they’d like the relationship between player and team to remain intact, but it comes down to Arizona’s plan and timeframe for its rebuild. Doan told reporters during the team’s locker clean out day that he needs to take time before making a decision about his future.
“I don’t even really want to think too much about that,” he told the reporters via Coyotes.com.
It’s not often, especially in today’s free agency-drive world, that a player spends an entire career, especially one the length of Doan’s, with the same organization. Though it would be a nice story to see Doan’s 20-year career end with one organization, it’s unfair to keep him there when the team has no shot of making the playoffs in the near future.
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That being said, it’s time, with or without Doan’s official request, for Maloney to shop and deal the best player in Arizona Coyotes history. Many Coyotes fans would it blasphemous to even consider trading Doan away, but with all he’s done for the organization and community, he deserves a real shot with a contender.
Doan has a no-movement clause in his contract, which would give him final say on his new team. With a young family and roots firmly planted in the Phoenix area, it could be assumed that any deal Doan approves of would have to be with a Western Conference team. However, due to him only having the one year left, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that Doan agree to a deal with a contending team, no matter the locale, and go for one final run at the trophy he never had a chance at: the Stanley Cup.
The return likely wouldn’t be high for a 38-year old forward that is due to make $4.55 million next season, and is coming off one of the lowest point-total seasons (36) in his career. Still, what he brings to a contending team is something that will fetch something worthwhile to Maloney. It’s just up to him to pull the trigger.
A decision on Doan’s future likely isn’t going to be made before the NHL Draft on June 26, but I’d like to think that Maloney and the Coyotes will do Doan one final favor and move him to a team where he can win.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.