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Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata remain with Coyotes

Veteran forwards not moved at Trade Deadline

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline came and went at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, and forwards Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata remained members of the Arizona Coyotes.

For Doan, 40, that means he'll play for them against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-A+, NHL.TV) and finish his 21st season in the NHL with the same organization he began his career in the League with in 1995. Whether this will be Doan's final season remains to be seen.

Vrbata, who, like Doan, is on an expiring contract, hasn't decided whether he'll play in the NHL next season or return home to the Czech Republic to play. With a Coyotes-leading 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games this season, the 35-year-old might have been able to help a Stanley Cup contender.

But Coyotes general manager John Chayka said he did not receive an offer he felt was good enough.

"We just made a decision that we're still trying to grow here, have a competitive team and finish off the season well with our good young group," Chayka said at the Coyotes hotel in Buffalo. "So Radim was a guy that unless it was a great offer we were going to keep him. You set your threshold, and we were looking around to see if we could maximize a return like any player we have, but just decided at the end of the day to keep him."

Vrbata said he learned he was staying with the Coyotes after practice Wednesday when assistant coach Jim Playfair showed him a text from coach Dave Tippett saying "nothing happened."

Though Vrbata said the day was "a little nerve-wracking," he didn't sound surprised he wasn't traded.

"I know the price that they set and I guess that wasn't met," he said. "As I said all along, I signed here, I want to finish the season here. I enjoy playing here for [Dave], so I'm happy that will continue."

As it turned out, Chayka didn't have to make a decision on trading Doan; Chayka said he received no calls on him. Doan also has a no-movement clause in his contract, so he would've controlled his fate if there were a decision to be made.

Video: Big Names Staying Put: Duchene, Landeskog, Vrbata

Calling himself "a 40-year-old fourth-liner," Doan, who has 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 62 games this season, seemed to understand there wouldn't be much of market for him. There was a small number of teams Doan would've gone to for a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"And they've got good players on those teams," he said.

Doan acknowledged if he had wanted to chase the Stanley Cup elsewhere, he needed to make that decision when he was younger.

"Forty is probably not the best time to be thinking about hoping to contribute for somebody," Doan said. "But at the same time, I look at the fact that I've been given an opportunity that not a lot of people are given, to play your whole 22 years with one organization."

The Coyotes (22-33-7) are all but certain to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. The closest Doan has come to the Stanley Cup was when the Coyotes lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Western Conference Final.

He had an opportunity to explore options as an unrestricted free agent in 2012 and again last summer, but always came back to the Coyotes.

"I think after a while you start to feel responsible for the organization and you want to take care and do what you can to help," he said. "Sometimes that gets in the way, sometimes that isn't good, and other times it's the best feeling in the world and you love it. I think that's just kind of par for the course in the fact that you've played as long as I've played with the Coyotes and never actually got the job done in what you're supposed to get done and feel like you have to.

"It's hard to win it. You have to be in the right spot at the right time with the right players around you. If you guys can predict who's going to win, I'll follow you to Vegas. That would be a lot of fun."

Doan didn't mean the Vegas Golden Knights, who will begin play in the NHL next season. They'll be building from scratch and Doan seems to have had enough of that.

Although he said he's a "huge, huge fan" of the Coyotes' young players Max Domi, 21, Christian Dvorak, 21, Lawson Crouse, 19, and Jakob Chychrun, 18, Doan seems to have tired of saying goodbye to old friends when Arizona sells off veterans at the trade deadline each season.

Doan couldn't hide is frustration after the Coyotes traded forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The Coyotes, who also gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in the trade, got back minor league forward Grayson Downing, a first-round pick in 2017, a second-round pick in 2018 and a conditional pick in 2019.

But those assets are for a future Doan probably won't be part of, at least on the ice.

"Our young guys have grown not just in their play but the way they handle themselves and the way that they act off the ice," he said. "I think they all can continue to grow in the way they're growing and, yeah, I'm really excited. That being said, it always seems to be a little ways away. That gets hard to be a fan of that and it's hard on the players that are here that are playing."

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