Shane Doan is happy with the moves the Arizona Coyotes have made over the summer. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Pavel Datsyuk’s recovery from his ankle surgery seems to be going well. (MLive.com)
Auston Matthews, who might be taken with the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the prospect of playing with older competition and for coach Marc Crawford are two of the big reasons he decided to sign with the ZSC Lions. (Arizona Republic)
Brace yourself if you’re opposing the Arizona Coyotes: it doesn’t sound like Shane Doan is pondering retirement just yet.
Yes, the hard-hitting captain of the Coyotes does turn 39 in October.
He’s also an “old” 39; Doan has a whopping 1,394 regular season games* and 55 postseason contests under his belt. That’s a lot for any player, especially one who emphasizes such a physical style of play.
While it’s probably worth noting that he’s saying these things during the low-impact month of August, it’s still interesting that Doan told Fox Sports Arizona that he might want to play even after his contract expires after the 2015-16 season.
“I always want to approach it that way until I know I’m done,” Doan 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 seems fairly happy about Arizona’s off-season, too. He believes that they’re going “back to that old pack mentality” that suited them well a few years ago.
One would assume that signs of progress would make Doan want to play quite a bit longer for the Coyotes … assuming that the feeling is mutual.
* – In case you’re wondering, Doan currently is tied with Stan Mikita at 35th place all-time with 1,394 games played. If he managed to appear in all 82 contests in 2015-16, he’d end that campaign ranked 20th overall.
Poll: Will the Coyotes be the worst team in the NHL next season?
Arizona GM Don Maloney thinks his Coyotes are “going to be a better team” than the one that finished 29th overall last year.
In fact, he says they’re “entering the season to be a playoff team.”
“I look at our roster and say, ‘OK, we may not have the most pure talent as some of the teams in the West,” Maloney told NHL.com, “but with a great coach and a great game plan and a stable center ice and a better blue line and solid goaltending, we should be able to compete every night, whether it’s the Chicago Blackhawks or the Stanley Cup champions or the bottom of the Western Conference.”
Others look at Arizona’s roster and wonder how anyone can be so optimistic. Shane Doan is 38 now. Sam Gagner and Keith Yandle, their second- and third-leading scorers from last year, are gone. The goaltending remains a big question mark. Besides Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the blue line isn’t overly impressive. Sure, the Coyotes have some excellent prospects in Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Dylan Strome, but their combined NHL experience is practically nil.
At online bookmaker Bovada, the Coyotes are the longest shot on the board to win the Stanley Cup, at 150/1. The Leafs, Sabres, and Hurricanes are next, each at 100/1.
OK, time to vote.
If you don’t think the Coyotes will be the worst team in the NHL, feel free to add your pick below.