Forward Shane Doan, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, will not be re-signed by the Arizona Coyotes.
"After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season," Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said in a statement Monday. "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."
Doan, 40, has played his entire 21-season NHL career with the Coyotes franchise. The longtime captain was not expecting the move.
"Yeah I'd say I was surprised," Doan told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "I wasn't expecting it and there is an element of surprise in that. You think it's going one way … and I realized very quickly where the conversation was going and was trying to process it all. … I wasn't shocked that they didn't want me to play again. I understand the direction they are going. I don't completely agree with a lot of the decisions that they've made, but at the same time it needs to be reaffirmed that I'm a player. Sometimes you start to think you are bigger than you are. I'm a player and my job is to play."
Doan was selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the seventh pick in the 1995 NHL Draft. The franchise moved to Phoenix prior to the 1996-97 season, Doan's second in the NHL.
Video: Johnson on Coyotes parting ways with Shane Doan
"On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Shane for everything he's done for the Coyotes on and off the ice the past 21 years," Barroway said. "Shane is a Valley icon who had an incredible career and was one of the best captains to ever play in the NHL.
"Shane deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping the Coyotes in the Valley and for growing the game of hockey in Arizona. He is beloved by our fans, corporate partners and the media and has been a tremendous leader for us in the community, and a great role model for kids. We wish him and his family all the best in the future. He will be a member of our Pack forever."
The Coyotes named Doan captain in 2003, and he is the franchise's all-time leader in goals (402), assists (570), points (972) and games (1,540). He had 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in 74 games this season, his lowest point total in a full season since he had 22 in 1998-99.
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is expected to be named captain, the Arizona Republic reported. The Republic also reported Doan has been offered a front office job with the Coyotes.
Arizona general manager John Chayka informed Doan of their decision Saturday.
"[Chayka] told me face-to-face and thanked me for my time and services," Doan said. "I left fairly quickly. I didn't want to say or do anything at the moment that could be detrimental. You don't want to respond with emotion. I'm a competitive and emotional guy and sometimes it gets the better of me. I shook his hand and said thank you and left.
"I appreciated him meeting me face-to-face and telling me. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to have to do that. It was what they thought was best."
For now, Doan plans on testing free agency, but hasn't ruled out retiring from the NHL.
"I want to get an honest idea of where I'd be and what it would be like. If it lines up, then yeah. I felt tied and wanted to be part of the Coyotes for your whole career, and maybe I retire and that's the way it ends. But at the same time maybe not to have that tie, maybe that's good and something I can look at other things and see and be honest with myself. I have enough people around me that are honest and make sure that I'm not making a bad decision."
The reshaping of the Coyotes for next season began Saturday with the trade of veteran goalie Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames for goalie Chad Johnson, defenseman prospect Brandon Hickey and a conditional third-round pick.
Arizona also left Doan and veteran forwards Radim Vrbata, Jamie McGinn and Brad Richardson off their list of protected players for the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday.
"I was probably waiting to hear a little bit from them," Doan said. "Obviously, when it turned out they were trading [Smith] some of those things probably would have weighed into my decision. But that wasn't the case. They'd make [my decision] for me."
Barroway reportedly became majority owner of the Coyotes last week. He announced June 16 president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc and president of hockey operations Gary Drummond stepped down from their duties. The changes are likely what led to the decision to trade Smith and not bring back Doan.
"It was the owner's decision," Doan said. "When he got possession of the team, he chose that he wanted to go with the younger group and me being around may have delayed that. Sometimes you have to rip off the Band-Aid and I guess that was kind of their approach. The fact they traded Smith right after, you understand they were making sure they got rid of the things that were from the past and going forward.
"I tried to call Smith to tell him what just happened to me and as I was calling him my wife told me that [the Coyotes] had just traded [him]."