On Monday, June 19, 2017, the Arizona Coyotes made a shocking move. The team announced that they would not be signing captain Shane Doan to a new contract for the upcoming season. Fans from across the league were shocked at the team’s decision to let Doan test the free agency market July 1. A member of the franchise since being drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1995, Doan played in 1,540 games, scored 402 goals, and assisted on 570 goals; all of these statistics placing him atop all other Coyotes players.
As a rookie, Doan dressed in 74 games where he scored 7 goals and contributed 10 assists. In Doan’s first game, he and Keith Tkachuk provided markers on a Jason Doig goal. Doan’s first ever goal was against veteran netminder Ed Balfour in a 6-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets fared pretty well in Doan’s first season; having made the Stanley Cup Playoffs to only be eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals by the Detroit Red Wings (hockey-reference.com). Following Doan’s rookie season, the Winnipeg Jets moved out to the warm southwest where they would become the Phoenix Coyotes.
In the 1999-2000 NHL season, Doan hit the 50 point plateau for the first time in his career when he scored 26 goals and notched 25 points as a young twenty-three-year-old forward in the NHL. The Coyotes were able to qualify for the playoffs that season where they were eliminated in the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals by the Colorado Avalanche four games to one. The Coyotes were successful in Doan’s first few years; qualifying for the playoffs from 1996-2002 only to be eliminated in the first round every time.
Before the 2003-2004 NHL Season commenced, the Coyotes made a decision that cemented Doan’s legacy as a Coyote. On September 10, 2003, Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett effectively named Doan as the franchise’s captain; becoming the Coyotes’ third leader since relocating to the Arizona deserts (http://www.arizonasportsfans.com/forum/threads/doan-is-named-new-captain.16012/). On February 13, 2004, the Coyotes rewarded Doan with a three-year, $9 million deal (http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/arizona-coyotes/shane-doan-1995/). Doan was once again handed an extension by the Coyotes on Valentine’s Day of 2007 with a five-year, $22.75 million deal (http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/arizona-coyotes/shane-doan-1995/). Until the 2009-2010 NHL season, the Coyotes were playing mediocre hockey and missed out on playoff berths. The team had previously fired the head coach and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and replaced him with former Dallas Stars head coach Dave Tippett. The 2009-2010 NHL season resulted in the Coyotes posting a record of 50-25-7 with Doan leading the team with 55 points (18 goals and 37 assists). Despite the team’s incredible regular season record, the team was eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. While the season did not end in a playoff series win, Doan was able to obtain the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his excellent humanitarian efforts as well as exceptional performance as a leader.
Doan and the Coyotes made the playoffs again the following season behind his team-leading 60 points (20 goals and 40 assists). The Coyotes were swept by the Detroit Red Wings despite making the postseason. The 2011-2012 season brought Doan and the Coyotes fanbase great joy as they finally escaped out of the first round and made it to the Western Conference Finals. Doan and the Coyotes were knocked out by the eventual Stanley Cup winners: the Los Angeles Kings. This has remained Doan and the Coyotes’ most accomplished and recent appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to date.
The 2013-2014 NHL season took a physical toll on Shane Doan. In December 2013, Doan began to experience fevers and headaches. Doan was diagnosed by doctors with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Mayo Clinic describes Rocky Mountain spotted fever as ‘a tick-borne bacterial disease that affects the cells in the lining off of your blood vessels, making the vessels leak. This can eventually cause serious damage to internal organs, particularly your kidneys” (https://www.nhl.com/news/coyotes-say-doan-has-rocky-mountain-fever/c-696962). Doan returned to action on January 4, 2014, against the Philadelphia Flyers where he logged 18:38 of ice time. Following Doan’s recovery from the illness, he completed the season with 47 points (23 goals and 24 assists).
On New Years’ Eve 2015, Doan surpassed Winnipeg Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk for the franchise lead in goals when he beat Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. On December 23, 2016, Doan beat Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen for his 400th career goal while participating in his 1500th career game with the franchise. Doan finished the 2016-2017 NHL season with the Coyotes in style by getting an assist on Brendan Perlini‘s goal in a 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild.
As Doan’s tenure with the Coyotes has come to a close, he has certainly left his mark on the game. The seventh overall pick from Halkirk, Alberta, Doan has been the definition of a one-team man. It is possible that Doan may find a suitor for his services and finally get his hands on a Stanley Cup. What are your thoughts on Shane Doan and his legacy? Is he likely to be picked up or should he take an administrative or coaching role?