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Coyotes Would be ‘Thrilled’ if Doan Decides to Return

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Shane Doan entered the 2015-16 season assuming it probably was going to be his last in the NHL. But the 39-year-old captain had such an outstanding campaign he’s thinking he just may come back for more.

“My family and I will discuss it,” Doan said after being asked if he plans to play next season. “…My (four) kids are getting older and they’ve got important things happening in their lives. I have the opportunity to be there and I’d love to be there for some of them. I don’t want to miss too much.”

Doan, playing the final year of his contract, turned in a memorable season in 2015-16. He scored 28 goals, his highest total since setting a career-high of 31 in 2008-09, to lead the Coyotes in that department. It’s an extraordinary feat considering only three other NHL players age 39 or older – Jaromir Jagr, John Bucyk and Gordie Howe – have ever led their team in goals at the end of a season.

In addition to leading the team in goals – he had seven more than runner-up Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Doan set franchise records for goals, points and power-play goals this season. He nearly added the franchise’s assists record to his collection but came up just five short. He also netted his second career hat trick.

“Being able to get some of the milestones is always something that I appreciate and I’m honored to have the opportunity to get them,” Doan said. “In the end, we didn’t make the playoffs. I would have traded those for making the playoffs and to have a shot at the Stanley Cup. In time, I’m sure I’ll really appreciate it. Right now it’s just disappointing that we didn’t make the playoffs.”

Despite not reaching the post-season, Doan had fun as the leader of young, up-and-coming team. Watching rookies Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook and Louis Domingue thrive as NHL freshmen provided excitement in the dressing room, which Doan embraced and fed off. Under his leadership, the Coyotes improved by 22 points in just one season.

“There were some moments that were pretty good,” Doan said. “We took some steps that were exciting but at the same time we’ve got a long ways to go. We took the step to get better and that’s encouraging.”

Doan is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Should he decide to return for another season, the Coyotes would be happy to welcome him back.

“Our view is if Shane wants to come back we’re thrilled,” Team President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said. “There’s no bigger figurehead in regards to the Arizona Coyotes than Shane Doan. But it’s a decision he has to come to with his family, and we’re going to let him dictate the time frame on that.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett believes Doan will be back.

"My gut feeling is Shane will play next year,” Tippett said. “The reason I say that is because in the last game (of the season) I put him on with about a minute, 30 seconds to go, and we were on a power play chasing a 1-0 game. When he got tired he came off the ice. If that was going to be his last game he would have never come off the ice.”

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