Shane Doan: Coyotes in ‘considerably harder division’

Oct 12, 2021, 11:40 AM | Updated: Oct 13, 2021, 11:12 am
Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller shoots on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7) d...

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller shoots on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 22, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Coyotes begin their first season in the Central Division on Thursday after getting replaced in the Pacific by the expansion Seattle Kraken.

This will create some challenges for the Coyotes, both in terms of competition and travel.

“It’s a considerably harder division,” Arizona executive and former player Shane Doan told Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports Tuesday morning. “We move to a division where, the hardest part is you give up a 45-minute flight to Vegas and a 45-minute to LA and to Anaheim, and you trade that in for a three-hour flight to Winnipeg, Minnesota and Nashville.”

The Coyotes are the western-most squad in the division, and the Dallas Stars are the only franchise further south.

The Central is the most spread out division in the NHL, so the Coyotes will have to adjust to the longer flights.

Doan also anticipates Arizona’s opponents to provide a tough test as well, especially this year.

“The teams in the division have all made the playoffs in the last year or two,” Doan said. “A couple are legit Stanley Cup contenders and Colorado being probably the Stanley Cup contender in the league. We’re going to have our hands full. It is a tough division. We’re going to have to play well at home and on the road.”

The Avalanche tied the Golden Knights for the most points last season and are FanDuel’s favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +550.

Last year, when the divisions were shifted due to the pandemic, five of the current eight teams in the Central made the playoffs: Colorado, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Nashville and St. Louis.

The Coyotes have the lowest odds to win the division this season as a younger team in a rebuild. But Arizona still has veteran leaders who Doan thinks can help grow the younger players.

“When push comes to shove and it gets hard, and it’s going to get difficult, your character is going to come out in that time,” Doan said. “Your job is to win hockey games. Your job isn’t to play in the NHL, your job is to win hockey games. I think those guys embody that and the ability to understand that our character matters.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Arizona Coyotes looks to pass the puck during the NHL game against the Los...
Tom Kuebel

Arizona Coyotes D Jakob Chychrun wants to be traded to contender

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is looking to get moved to a contender and will miss the opening of training camp with an injury. 
4 days ago
Barrett Hayton #29 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the second period of the NHL ...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Coyotes sign F Barrett Hayton to 2-year contract

The Arizona Coyotes have signed forward Barrett Hayton to a two-year contract, according to Arizona Sports' John Gambadoro.
5 days ago
(Arizona Coyotes screenshot)...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes announce Gila River Resorts & Casinos as jersey sponsor

The Coyotes announced a sponsorship with Gila River Resorts & Casinos for the branding entitlement on Arizona's official home jerseys.
5 days ago
Conor Geekie is drafted by the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at...
Tom Kuebel

Coyotes’ Conor Geekie looking to establish himself at Rookie Faceoff

Coyotes fans will be getting a glimpse at the newest members of the team during three games of the Coyotes' Rookie Faceoff.
10 days ago
Logan Cooley poses for photos after being selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the third pick in th...
Jordan Leandre

Arizona Coyotes announce training camp, Rookie Faceoff schedules

The Arizona Coyotes announced the schedule for the 2022-23 preseason, according to a team press release on Wednesday.
17 days ago
Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the third period of the NHL game...
Kellan Olson

Phil Kessel felt ‘lost’ in Arizona with Coyotes’ direction

Former Coyotes forward Phil Kessel spoke with the media on Thursday for the first time since signing a one-year deal with the Golden Knights.
1 month ago
Shane Doan: Coyotes in ‘considerably harder division’