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Contract for Doan, extension for Smith are ‘Yotes’ priorities

The best season in Phoenix Coyotes history has come to an
end, and now the focus for general manager Don Maloney
turns to the future.

Still operating under the parameters of league ownership,
Maloney faces an offseason where several of his key
players are unrestricted free agents.

That list includes captain Shane Doan, the longest-tenured
pro athlete in Phoenix, and a member of the team since
their Winnipeg days.

“We’ll get it when everything is sorted out with the
team,” Doan said Thursday while the team was cleaning out
their lockers at Arena. “It hasn’t been a
distraction, and we’ll get it done.”

Doan, 35, played in 79 games this season, scoring 22 goals
and added 28 assists. His 50 points were his lowest
total since
the 2001-02 season. That statistic doesn’t seem to
concern Maloney.

“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,” he said.
“That’s a goal of mine.”

There’s also been talk of a contract extension for goalie
Mike Smith, who signed a two-year, $4 million contract
with the Coyotes last summer. Smith was thought to be a
major downgrade at the position after Ilya Bryzgalov
signed a huge free agent deal with the Philadelphia
Flyers, but the 31-year-old solidified himself as one of
the best netminders in the business.

“It’s tough to comment on that right now after the season
just ended so abruptly,” Smith said. “It’s been a breath
of fresh air coming out here to the desert and kind of
turning my career around.

“We’ll deal with contract talk when it comes, but it’s
been a fun place to play hockey and I couldn’t ask for a
better bunch of guys in this locker room.”

An extension for Smitty, as he’s known by his teammates,
is definitely on Maloney’s radar.

“He likes us, we like him,” he said. “We’d like to do
something, he’s a core piece for us, but it’s not
something that has to be done in the next month or so;
that’s something you can look at in July or August.”

Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this

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