Doan is committed to Coyotes for this season, and maybe beyond
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan is back in the Valley with a refreshed mind, a rested body and a renewed spirit for the NHL season ahead.
"Sometimes, you can get bogged down in negativity and focus on the wrong things," the Coyotes captain said Wednesday. "I’m feeling good again. I’m feeling optimistic."
When the disastrous 2014-15 season ended, Doan’s and coach Dave Tippett’s futures with the franchise were uncertain as they waited to see what direction ownership would take this offseason.
The Coyotes didn’t land all the free agents they wanted, in part as an aftereffect of the City of Glendale’s decision to void a 15-year arena lease and management agreement — a decision that scared free agents away. Nor did Arizona complete the trade they wanted most — for Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
But they did bring back Doan’s close friend, center Antoine Vermette, re-signed defenseman Zbynek Michalek, signed forwards Brad Richardson and Steve Downie and traded for defenseman Nicklas Grossmann. With more room in the budget, it is clear that ownership has loosened the purse strings a bit in an effort to avoid a repeat of last season’s collapse.
"We made a lot of moves this summer, and all of them were for legitimate, really good NHL players," Doan said. "I think it is everyone’s goal again to put ourselves in a position where we can see good things happening.
"There’s no question we’re going to have to get back to that old pack mentality where everybody is chipping in. We need some young guys to step up, and we need some old guys to step up, but you look at Calgary and how they turned it around, and it gives you hope."
Doan, who turns 39 in October, said he has no plans to waive his no-move clause and request a trade in the final year of his contract. He also said he wants to keep playing beyond this year.
"I always want to approach it that way until I know I’m done," he said. "I’d like to have a good year. If I feel I can still help the team and they still want me, we can go from there."
Doan also said he will trust his coach when it comes to crafting the forward lines. Tippett said earlier this summer that he is pondering a line of Richardson at center with Doan and Tobias Rieder on the wings.
"Everybody wants to play more. If you play 20 minutes, you want to play 22, and that’s my mindset," he said. "At the same time, I trust Tip, even if I don’t always agree with him. You do what you’re told and you prepare the right way and you hope you make the decision as hard as possible."
Doan spent the better part of two months split between his parents’ ranch in Alberta and a getaway near Kamloops, British Columbia. Now that he is back in town, he has resumed informal skates with a few teammates at the Ice Den. He expects more to join in the next week or two as they arrive in the Valley.
With training camp about four weeks away, it’s time to ramp it up for a 12th season as the face and leader of this team.
"It’s not going to be easy for us. The West is loaded, and it seems like everybody got better," Doan said when asked about the possibility of competing for a playoff spot. "As you get older and gain more experience, you have a better understanding of what’s going on, but for sure it’s possible. I don’t think anybody who steps on the ice in this league ever thinks otherwise."