It took a lot longer than Shane Doan would have liked, but in the end, he ended up right back where he started.
Doan on Friday signed a four-year contract to stay with the Phoenix Coyotes and the franchise for whom he's played his entire NHL career.
"I dragged this thing out as long as I possibly could," Doan said with a laugh addressing the media in Arizona.
Doan became a free agent July 1, and from that point forward expressed his desire to play for the Coyotes. However, the team's ownership situation remains unresolved, putting off the agreement until Friday.
"This was as far as I could push it without going crazy, I think," Doan said.
Greg Jamison is in line to purchase the team, pending resolution of an arena lease agreement with the city of Glendale.
"I think I made it clear right from the beginning my whole goal was to come back here ... if I thought there was hope that this could work here then I was going to come back here," Doan said. "In the end, I think there's hope, and that's really what it comes down to. …
"I don't know how many times we've heard, 'Just in two more weeks it'll be done,'" Doan added. "Hopefully in two weeks it's done."
Doan, 35, has been a member of the Coyotes franchise since he was chosen by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1995 NHL Draft. In 16 seasons, the team’s captain has 318 goals and 470 assists in 1,198 career games.
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Last season, Doan had 22 goals and 28 assists in 79 games. The Coyotes reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time, where they were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in five games.
"The last three years are arguably as much fun as I've had in the NHL, and last year in the playoffs was amazing, and I want to do that again," Doan said.
"It gave us a little taste of what I think the group can do, and I think in the end that was probably the biggest thing for me," he said.
The Arizona Republic reported the deal is worth a total of $21.2 million (a $5.3 million annual salary-cap charge) with a $2 million signing bonus.
"This has been a long and arduous process at times," general manager Don Maloney said. "... We look at Shane as a partner in helping us build a winner in Phoenix. …
"To me, I thought the difference is, with Shane, we're a good team. Without him, we [were] going to have to really work to be a good team," Maloney added. "... This gives us a chance to win next year, and not just survive."
"I think you win with goaltending, coaching and a blue line -- and I want to win," Doan told FOX Sports Arizona.
Maloney said he could see this not being Doan's last contract, but his next-to-last.
"I don't think this is the last deal we're going to be signing with Shane," Maloney said. "I don't see it unless he gets [tired] of winning Cups."