The Arizona Coyotes are once again approaching a draft lottery position in this coming Entry Draft and that future will likely be without Shane Doan, sooner rather than later.
No Arizona Coyotes fan has known this franchise without Shane Doan.
Doan has been with the team since before the rebuild, before the magical Conference Finals run and before the modern Coyote logo was even a thing.
Shane Doan has been a Coyote since the very beginning, when he stepped off the Winnipeg Jets team plane with his teammates into the sunny Sonoran Desert. He is the embodiment of everything Coyotes fans love about this team, and he will always be Captain Coyote.
In fact, should Doan retire at the end of the season, I would bet my entire college loan debt that his name and number will be up in the rafters after the Arizona Coyotes first home game of the 2017-18 season.
But Doan’s departure may be sooner than expected, according to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman. Friedman was quoted in a report Saturday afternoon saying that should John Chayka approach Doan with an opportunity to go to a contender, he would consider it.
"“[The Coyotes] are looking at it like, ‘You know, he’s not going to be here forever, we have to see who else can be the leaders of the team, maybe we might have to move on but we want to put Shane Doan in a situation where he’d be happy,’ ”"
Now many Arizona Coyotes fans can not imagine Coyotes hockey without Shane Doan.
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It would be a far harder breakup to many if we were to see Doan wearing a Chicago Blackhawks or New York Rangers jersey in April.
And while the idea of Doan leaving by trade rather than pure retirement makes a Coyotes’ fan’s stomach churn, the reasoning Friedman uses appears pretty sound. Doan has spent a long time without coming close to a cup, so if one is attainable for only a short time away from his family, he may go for it.
Moreover, the on-ice leadership is going to have to be different in the post-Doan era.
It isn’t that Doan has done anything wrong, but rather that at some point, a player like Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Martin Hanzal (if he isn’t traded and resigns) is going to step into Doan’s role and they need some time to develop in that leadership position before the rebuild concludes and the franchise begins the uphill climb back into contention.
The Arizona Coyotes are going to come out of this rebuild at some point and realistically, Shane Doan won’t be on the roster to see it (although a front office position of sorts should certainly be in the cards).
According to the report, however, the point at which Doaner leaves the Yotes’ roster may be sooner rather than later whether fans like it or not.
It might be a bitter pill to swallow come late February, because change could be a ‘comin.