The Unforgettable NHL Debut of Josh Doan

With his father looking on, Josh Doan scored two goals in a thrilling NHL debut.

Josh Doan in his NHL debut
Josh Doan in his NHL debut / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

As a promising prospect and the son of the greatest player in Arizona Coyotes' franchise history, Josh Doan's NHL debut was always going to be the story of Tuesday night's home tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then, the 22-year-old turned it into something unforgettable.

With his dad on-hand at Mullett Arena, Doan scored two goals, including the game-winner, in a 6-2 victory to provide a memorable highlight from what has largely become a lost season. He became the first Coyote in franchise history to record a multi-goal debut and one of only eight current NHLers to do so.

Following the customary solo lap before his debut, Doan took advantage of a Zach Werenski turnover in his own end to put the puck past Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzļikins. Mid-way through the third period, the Arizona State University standout deflected a Michael Kesselring shot into the net, giving the Coyotes a lead that they would not relinquish.

Dad Was on Hand

Not that a two-goal debut needs anything added to it, but the fact that Doan's dad, Shane, was in the building made the night extra special. The elder Doan had 402 goals and 972 points in 1,540 games, all with the Coyotes' franchise. Josh was at many of his dad's games growing up and continued to be a regular presence even after his father hung up his skates.

Josh Doan, Shane Doan
Josh and Shane Doan / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Now a special advisor to Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving, the elder Doan received permission to fly out to the desert in time for Josh's first game and even got to present his son with the game puck. Considering Shane recorded a pair of assists in his NHL debut when the franchise was still in Winnipeg, he'll surely hear it from his son about how he was one-upped.

What Does It Mean Moving Forward?

No one is getting ahead of themselves here and jumping to any conclusions on Doan's Arizona future based off of a single game. Even if he continues to produce over the season's final 10 games, the second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft will be afforded no guarantees on a roster spot for next season.

That being said, how could the Coyotes front office be anything but excited regarding their first look at Doan at the NHL level? He, Matias Maccelli and Jack McBain found instant chemistry, even with Doan registering just 13:14 of ice time.

While Doan is, at the moment, the new kid in town, he's actually older than lineup regulars Logan Cooley and Dylan Guenther. That trio, plus players like Maccelli, McBain, Barrett Hayton and 'seasoned veterans' Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse make up a promising young forward core, to say nothing of the organization's other prospects and upcoming first-round pick.

Also on Tuesday night, the Vegas Golden Knights earned a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators, thereby mathematically eliminating the Coyotes from postseason contention. But while that result rendered Arizona's final 10 games as being officially meaningless in the standings, fans suddenly have an exciting new arrival with deep roots within the franchise to be excited about.