In an effort to get things back on track and preview the upcoming Season, FfH is breaking down each of the players on the Coyotes roster to get some idea of how this year might go. I'd like to say I'm committing to doing one everyday, but... Those promises always fall apart. I'll do my best though.
In the first of Five for Howling's player previews we start at the top of the Coyotes roster with captain Shane Doan. Any fan of the team or of hockey knows what he brings to the table in terms of pure leadership and that was finally validated this summer at the NHL Awards when he received the King Clancy Award for leadership. Outside of Dave Tippett, I'd largely give credit for this past season's success to Doan as inside the room he's the one pushing the team to the next level and keeping their heads on straight.
In terms of pure statistical production, last season was below average for the Captain. With 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 points it was his lowest production since 2001-2002 when he had 20-29-49 (He also had 55 points in '06-'07). That being said he wasn't being relied upon to be the goal producer for the team with guys like Scottie Upshall and Matthew Lombardi picking up the slack. He did have a terrible stretch during the months of February and March where he wasn't able to find the back of the net in 23 consecutive games. While we may not have been relying on him, that lack of scoring was painful to watch and Doan was clearly frustrated himself.
What he lacked in scoring though he made up for by becoming a physical presence down the stretch. He was throwing his body around and making check after check in critical situations. This was painfull clear (especially to the Red Wings) in the playoffs. Doan took his Physical game to another level until he was knocked out of the series with a shoulder injury when he attempted to avoid taking out goalie Jimmy Howard. He kept trying to return but later fans found out he had a Grade 3 shoulder separation. While it kept him from returning there shouldn't be anything holding him back from training camp or the start of the season.
My prediction for this year: 26 goals, 39 assists for 65 points. Doan might not reach his career highs again this year, but I doubt he has that same 23 game goalless streak unless he's out for an extended amount of time with some sort of injury.