Arizona Rubber

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New chapter for Coyotes as Doan not returning to club

 

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The Arizona Coyotes will have a decided new look next season.

Mike Smith will not be between the pipes, traded to the Calgary Flames in mid-June, and then in a move that raised plenty of eyebrows, longtime captain Shane Doan was not offered a contract to play the 2017-18 season for the only NHL franchise he has ever known.

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Now 40, Doan was coming off his least productive season offensive in nearly 20 years, scoring just six goals and 27 points in 74 games. He did score his 400th career goal in December, but managed just two more over the next three months.

Coyotes owner, chairman and governor Andrew Barroway issued a statement on June 19, the day the news broke that last season was Doan’s final one with the Coyotes.

“After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season,” said Barroway. “The time has come for us to move on and to focus on our young, talented group of players and our very bright future. This was a very difficult decision given what Shane has done for the Coyotes and his unparalleled importance to the organization. With that said, this is necessary to move us forward as a franchise.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Shane for everything he’s done for the Coyotes on and off the ice the past 21 years. Shane is a Valley icon who had an incredible career and was one of the best captains to ever play in the NHL.

“Shane deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping the Coyotes in the Valley and for growing the game of hockey in Arizona. He is beloved by our fans, corporate partners and the media and has been a tremendous leader for us in the community, and a great role model for kids. We wish him and his family all the best in the future. He will be a member of our pack forever.”

Doan, who became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has played 1,540 NHL games since Winnipeg selected him in the first round (seventh overall) back in the 1995 NHL Draft. He has recorded 972 points, including 402 goals, but was part of only one playoff run of note, when the Coyotes lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Western Conference Finals. That run was also the last time the Coyotes made the postseason.

Once the news was made public, Doan spoke with the “Burns and Gambo Show” on Arizona Sports 98.7.

“Yeah, it was the owner’s decision,” said Doan. “When he got possession of the team, he chose that he wanted to go with the younger group and that me being around might’ve kind of delayed things. Sometimes, you’ve got to rip the Band-Aid off and I guess that was kind of the approach they were looking at. The fact that they traded (Smith) right after, you understand. They were making sure they were getting rid of the things that were from the past.”

Doan spent one year in Winnipeg before the Jets relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes prior to the 1996-97 season. He wore the ‘C’ for the Coyotes since 2003.

“I’m trying to sort through the emotions of it,” added Doan. “I know my personality and my initial response is, ‘You challenge me that way, then I’m going to want to prove you wrong.’ Initially, there’s no doubt in my mind that I want to prove to them I can be effective and help.

“As the two days have calmed down, it’s like, ‘Okay, I want to make a decision that’s right and not just one out of competitiveness and anger.’ I want to get an honest idea of where I’d be and what it would be like.”

Photo/Norm Hall

— Matt Mackinder