If you love something, set it free

Mar 3, 2015, 1:31 PM | Updated: 6:41 pm

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I am a Shane Doan fan. I mean, who in this town is not?

This guy has given his heart and soul to the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes for 17 years. He is as good a guy as you will find in the community. He is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, brave — and he is not even a Boy Scout.

And with all that being said, if you love something, set it free. It’s time for the Coyotes to set Doaner free. He will come back and he will always be ours. But for now it’s time to do what is best for him, not the organization.

The Coyotes are going through a major rebuilding process. General manager Don Maloney did an excellent job of trading away two free agents to be in Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek and an overrated player with one year left on his contract in Keith Yandle and netting some major prospects in Anthony Duclair, John Moore, Klas Dahlbeck and Maxim Letunov as well as adding two first-round draft picks in the deals.

But the ‘Yotes are a few years away from being competitive and Maloney knows it. Maloney has talked of building a team that can be a championship contender in three or four years. That will be too late for Doan. He is 38 and he has one year remaining on his contract.

It wouldn’t be fair to him to ask him to stay and lose again. He needs to finish out his career on a contender with a chance to win a Cup. Just ask Dallas Drake what it was like to win a Cup with the Red Wings in his final year. Or Ray Bourque what it was like to leave Boston after all those years and to get to drink from Lord Stanley with the Avalanche.

I know it will suck to see Doaner in another uniform. We all would love for him to retire a Coyote. But it will suck more to watch him struggle night in and night out with a young talented team not ready for prime time. Doan is frustrated. He is more frustrated this year than at any point in his career. I’m not sure he can go through another season of being one of the worst teams in the NHL. The Coyotes can’t be much worse than they are now and could actually be better next year. But playoff better? Unlikely.

Doan has been quiet thus far on all the trades and for good reason. If you don’t have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. He lost his center (Vermette) and his assistant captain (Yandle) and a veteran he really respected (Michalek). He is the captain of a ship that has been sinking all season.

The Coyotes are doing this the right way. There is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just going to take some time to drive through it. They will be fun to watch going forward especially with Max Domi and Duclair pairing together next year. Plus there is talent in the system in Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak and the potential to land either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft this season. I can see Maloney’s vision. It all makes sense. Just not for Doan.

So ask him if he wants to be shipped to a contender. There will be takers, especially with just one year left on his deal. Give him one last chance to lift the Cup and maybe it even rejuvenates him. This year has worn on him. It’s easy to tell. I know it won’t be easy. It will be a sad day. But what’s the alternative? Watching him finish his career on a team in complete rebuild mode? No thanks. I respect the man too much, I want to see him have a chance to win even if it’s not here.

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