General Manager Don Maloney is planning on captain Shane Doan returning to the team next season.
Doan, 39, is in the final year of his contract.
“He’s in our plans for as long as he wants to continue to play,” Maloney told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, the team’s flagship radio station, on Wednesday. “We certainly expect him next year. We’ve talked to Shane a number of times (and) we’ll sit down early in the off-season and get a deal done for next year.”
Doan is leading the Coyotes with 27 goals with two games to play. He also is closing in on 400 career goals, and he needs just four more helpers to become the franchise’s all-time leader for assists. He already took over first place for all-time goals and all-time points earlier this season.
Maloney said Doan’s value goes beyond the stats.
“His value to me with the young people we have is something we must have,” Maloney said. “Fortunately Shane feels good, he’s healthy, he’s energetic, and we expect him to be back next year, and then we’ll see after next year where we go from there.”
• Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes when they play the penultimate game of the season on Thursday at Nashville.
Smith has posted a 5-3-0 mark with two shutouts and a .962 save percentage since returning from core muscle surgery on March 12.
Smith likely will also start the season finale on Saturday at San Jose. That’s because backup goalie Louis Domingue has left the team temporarily because of a family matter. Marek Langhamer, whom the Coyotes recalled from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will be Smith's backup on Thursday and possibly Saturday, too.
• Center Martin Hanzal, who did not accompany the team on its four-game trip to end the season, remains in Arizona because of an upper-body injury.
• Defenseman Connor Murphy has impressed Head Coach Dave Tippett with his performance this season. Tippett traces Murphy’s improvement to the hard work he put in last summer.
Being partnered with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tippett said, also has helped Murphy evolve into a steady NHL player this season.
“He’s really coming into his own,” Tippett said. “…Playing with Oliver, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that and he’s handled it very well.”
Murphy has set career-highs in games (76), goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) this season, and he leads the team with 173 hits.
• Rookie Jordan Martinook is thrilled fans voted him the team’s Hardest Working Player this season.
“It’s an honor,” Martinook said. “Anything that’s fan voted is something that you take even more pride in because they’re the ones that come to watch us play. For them to vote me as the Hardest Working Player out of this group, with a lot of guys that are very deserving of it, is very special and I’m very honored about that.”