Well, who’s surprised? Shane Doan, the last of the big-name free agents still on the market in this distressing NHL off-season, isn’t going anywhere - provided a couple more T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted in the Phoenix Coyotes’ ongoing ownership drama, which now revolves around its lease deal with the city of Glendale.
Doan, the Coyotes’ captain, made it clear to me more than a year ago that he did not want to leave Phoenix under any circumstances. This was during the time when the Coyotes were still in the mix to be shifted to Winnipeg, before the Atlanta Thrashers eventually relocated to Manitoba and became the new-look Jets. Doan was the last remaining playing link to the old Jets; and in the nicest way possible, explained that his desire to stay in Arizona was personal. His family had roots there, and they were dug in. Perfectly understandable and refreshing too - a player who had his priorities straight and wasn’t off chasing every last dollar the way some do.
Doan has left money on the table to stay in Phoenix in the past and may do so again, because as an unrestricted free agent, he would be looking at a $30-million pay day (over four years) to leave for greener pastures.
But Doan told XTRA 910 in Phoenix on Thursday that he already has a new contract in place to play for the Coyotes and he’ll sign it, as soon as the Greg Jamison deal with the NHL goes through. At the moment, the hold-up is the city of Glendale’s wish to renegotiate a sweetheart lease deal with the Jamison group, a 20-year, $324-million agreement that would make the team - if not financially viable in the market - then at least give the operators a chance to avoid the tens of millions in annual losses that the Coyotes have absorbed dating all the way back to the Jerry Moyes ownership days).
Doan has maintained radio silence all summer, but the timing of his comments indicates that he, at least, believes that this complicated, twisting-in-the-wind deal can be done, once and for all, before the NHL gets back to playing.
And hey, since there doesn’t appear to be any reason to think that actual NHL games will be played before December at the earliest, time is actually on his side for a change.