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No player means more to his franchise than Shane Doan does to the Phoenix Coyotes.
This may not be true on the stat sheet. Doan's 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists) this year were his lowest total since the 2001-'02 season.
No, Doan's impact is much greater than that.
He is their captain and has been with the team since 1995, spending one season in Winnipeg before the Jets trekked south to Phoenix.
As Mark Brown of Bleacher Report notes, "[Doan] is regarded as the heart and soul of the franchise and Tippett identifies the native of Halkrik, Alberta as 'the best captain in the NHL.'"
Doan's future in Phoenix is likely tied directly to the team's. Ownership of the Coyotes is still not settled. General manager Don Maloney is currently operating under the parameters of league ownership.
The circumstances present an odd situation for the franchise. A team fresh off a deep playoff run could easily end up in a new city by next season.
If the Coyotes stay, Doan likely will too. If they leave town, however, the unrestricted free agent will obviously have no choice but to do the same. His ties to the organization may sever as well.
Maloney remains committed to preventing that from happening. According to Vince Marotta for Arizona Sports, Maloney said:
Once we have our ownership settled, we'll immediately go after Shane and make sure we do everything we can to keep him a Coyote for the rest of his career. That's a goal of mine.