As one of the last three active NHL players who can remember what it was like to put on the uniform of the first incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, Shane Doan has been around the block a few times.
His name has been in the headlines more recently because he is concerned with the ownership situation of the Phoenix Coyotes, the team he currently captains, the team that used to be the Jets. He’s set a few different deadlines over the course of this offseason for learning more about the team’s future, which will guide the course of where he chooses to go next season. As of this writing, his most current deadline is Sept. 15.
But that’s just one aspect of Doan’s career. He came off a very good 2011-12 season, one that saw him lead the team to their best season ever in terms of success. The Coyotes placed third in the Western Conference, won the Pacific Division and had their deepest ever trip into the playoffs after years of missing the postseason altogether or being bounced in the first round. Doan put together a 50-point season, including his first ever hat trick in his 1,161st NHL game. He was also given the Mark Messier Leadership Award for 2012–an award hand-selected by Messier himself–and named number 10 among the all-time best captains in NHL history.
Though Doan has yet to hoist the Stanley Cup, he has won what is often considered the most difficult trophy to win in sports, the Memorial Cup. It’s so hard to win because players only have five years total in which to win it before they age out of the junior system. Doan won it twice in his junior career with the Kamloops Blazers–1994 and 1995–and the 1994-95 season saw him score 94 points, good for the MVP award.
After winning the Memorial Cup that second time, he was drafted seventh overall by the Jets in what was technically Winnipeg’s last draft class before the relocation. (It hadn’t been made official yet when the 1996 draft came around, so people selected that year, like Danny Briere, were still given Jets gear but with the knowledge that they’d be playing in Phoenix.) Doan needed no more time in junior and made it directly to the NHL after his drafting. He had a 17-point rookie season and one of those points was a game-winning goal that was instrumental in the Jets making the playoffs.
Doan made the shift to the desert and became captain for the 2003-04 season, a 68-point season for him that also saw him go to his first All-Star Game. He followed that with his first 30-goal season the next year. In 2007, he signed the five-year contract extension that has now expired and made him into a free agent.
With a new contract under his belt, in 2007-08 he led the Coyotes in scoring, notching a career-high 50 assists along with 28 goals. He went to the All-Star Game again in 2009 and won the Elimination Shootout of the Skills Competition segment, a nice addition to a career-high goal season. Since then, he’s had at least 50 points in each of his most recent seasons, but hasn’t had another 78-point campaign.
Plus, he’s played for Canada internationally many times, starting with the 1999 World Championships. His first international medal came in 2003, a gold medal, and he also scored the game-winner that sealed the 2004 World Cup for Canada. He’s won three silver medals (2005, 2008, 2009) and one other gold medal (2007) as well. Also in 2006, he was part of the Canadian team at the Olympics, but they did not medal. He was not part of the gold-medal 2010 team.
He is getting up there in age slightly–he’s 35 years old–which could explain his lower standing on the list. Doan’s future may be a bit of a question mark right now, but once the question mark turns into a period, he could still have a few big seasons left in him. Who knows, he could even cap off his career with Lord Stanley like another Kamloops Blazers alumnus, Mark Recchi, did.
Doan’s first career hat trick is capped off (pardon the pun) just as the final buzzer is sounding and is so surprising that the Coyotes commentators laugh at the sight of it.
Ray Whitney sets Doan up for his 300th career goal and Doan loses his balance, so he slides along the ice as he scores.
This January 2010 goal in overtime gives the Coyotes the win and cements a huge comeback win for Phoenix. Doan had assists on two end-of-third goals that brought this game into overtime at all, too.
- Doan grew up a devout Christian–his parents ran a Christian summer camp in his hometown of Halkirk, Alberta–and he writes ‘Romans 8:28′ on his sticks. (New International version: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.)
- He had his first ever run-in with NHL discipline in 2010 when he was suspended three games for a blindside hit.
- There are lots of icy ties in Doan’s extended family: his second cousin is Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), his first cousin is Keaton Ellerby (Florida Panthers) and another first cousin is a speed skating gold medalist, Catriona Le May Doan.
The Rant Sports Top 100 NHL Players series will examine the top 100 players all across the league. Look for more from the top 100 soon.