GLENDALE – Surprising no one, the Coyotes and captain Shane Doan have agreed to a new contract that will keep Doan playing for Arizona past his 40th birthday in October.
“I’m very honored by the opportunity to do that,” Doan said. “I didn’t take it lightly. Each time I’ve come to this situation the goal has always been to stay with them. They’ve been great to me. Obviously we’ve got unfinished business. We haven’t won, but it’s like family now to me and that’s important.”
|Shane Doan. Photo by Getty Images. |
The Coyotes signed Doan to a one-year contract on Tuesday. He will enter the season needing just 34 games to reach 1,500 for his NHL career and four goals to reach 400. He was named team captain before the 2003-04 season and is the longest-serving captain in the NHL. Among active NHLers, Doan ranks third in games played (1,466); he's 22nd overall.
Doan, who decided to return next season in May, never worried about finalizing what could be his final NHL contract.
“Obviously I wanted to get it done as soon as possible, but I also understood that there were things that needed to be put into place,” Doan said regarding negotiations with new Coyotes General Manager John Chayka. “At no time was I really anxious or anything. John Chayka was incredible with me and my agent, and the same with Dave Tippett and the ownership. They were all overly cordial and generous and good to me… We knew that it would eventually get done.”
“He was able to work with us within a true partnership fashion to help our team and organization like he always has,” Chayka said of Doan, who is 12 years his senior. “I know there was some (public) angst about it, and whether it would get done or not, but that was never the case from our end. It was always very amicable and very respectful… We wanted him back, and he wanted to be here. That was established early on, so it was just a matter of seeing how things fell into place... We took our time and did it right. That's what we want to do here.”
|Shane Doan. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Despite leading the team with 28 goals last season, Doan said he expects to play a lesser role on the ice this season as the Coyotes continue to build with younger players.
“We’ve got young guys that are going to take bigger and bigger roles and guys that are going to be taking over everything and doing everything, which has already started to happen,” Doan said. “I’m very aware of the fact that in order for us to really achieve what we want to achieve, I’m going to have to take a lesser role. At the same time, I think there’s lots of things that I can do to provide value to our group. Hopefully I can be supportive and helpful to the guys that we have that are coming in to pick everything up and take it on to the next level.”
Chayka said he expects Doan not only to lead, but to be a key player for the Coyotes in 2016-17.
“This is an on-ice move,” Chayka said. “Shane Doan had a great year (in 2015-16), and the way he impacts our team overall, and all of our players, I think they’re all better players because of Shane… He’s our captain, our leader and a guy that just brings everything to the next level, so we’re excited to reach an agreement with him and get him on a team that we feel has a chance to be a real good team.”
Per NHL.com, Doan will become the ninth player in NHL history to play at least 21 seasons with the same franchise. Seven of the other eight -- Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman, Stan Mikita, Ray Bourque, John Bucyk and George Armstrong -- are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The eighth, goalie Martin Brodeur, who played for the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues, is not yet eligible.
"We'll go forward on a year-by-year basis," Doan said. "Every athlete always says, 'I think I'll know,' and a lot of athletes don't. I want to be cognizant of that. I have enough people around me that I think will be honest with me and let me know if it should be my last (season)."
News of Doan's return to the Coyotes triggered reaction by teammates and notables on Twitter. Check out samples below: