The Arizona Coyotes are parting ways with captain Shane Doan, as TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the 40-year-old won’t be re-signed by the club. The Coyotes confirmed the report.
The Arizona Coyotes are parting ways with long time captain Shane Doan. The club informed him over the weekend. (con't)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 19, 2017
LeBrun adds Doan isn’t sure whether or not he’ll continue playing – but that teams are interested. Furthermore, he reports Doan will likely land in the Coyotes front office after his career is officially over.
In a press release, Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said the organization didn’t offer a contract to Doan in favor of focusing on adding young talent. He called the decision “difficult,” considering Doan’s “unparalleled importance to the organization.”
“After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season. 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.
The news is surprising, but not for the reason you’d think.
Not offering Doan a contract after 21 seasons (he played for the original Winnipeg Jets) with the club must be a tough pill to swallow. For more than two decades he gave it all to the organization, staying with them through the thick and thin – making the playoffs nine times, making it out of the second round just once in 2011-12. Considering his loyalty, Doan seemed like a lock to spend his entire career in the desert.
However, the NHL is a business and moving on from Doan was the right move, no matter how disloyal it seems (it’s not). Doan wasn’t protected by the Coyotes in this week’s expansion draft because he holds little value. As a pending UFA, Arizona had virtually no incentive to re-sign him other than keeping fans happy.
On the ice, Doan scored just six goals in 74 games in 2016-17. Snakebitten with an extremely unlucky 4.2 percent shooting percentage in all situations, Doan finished with 27 points, his worst total since the late 90s. With the Coyotes deeply entrenched in a full-blown rebuild, Doan’s presence would have come at the cost of regular playing time for a long-term piece. It might seem cruel, but keeping him around as a placeholder might be crueler.
If Doan doesn’t retire, he’s in the perfect situation to chase a Stanley Cup on a one-year deal with a contender. Before last season’s production dip, he managed at least 20 goals in four of the last six seasons, so he’s a decent bet as a good locker room guy with offensive upside in the bottom-six. I don’t think he’s washed. But if Doan wants to retire a Coyote, that would be an appropriate ending to his career. Honestly, he’s going down a win-win path since Arizona chose not to re-sign him – he’s not a villain.
So, what’s next? That’s up to Doan. But with more than 400 career goals, nearly 1000 points, and more than 1500 games all with the same organization, it’s going to be weird to see him in any other uniform than the Coyotes.