Shane Doan isn’t naive. He isn’t dumb, either.
The Arizona Coyotes captain understands the Coyotes have the second-worst record in the NHL, and that finishing with a top-two pick in this summer’s draft would yield one of Conor McDavid and Jack Eichel, both of whom are viewed as elite, franchise-altering prospects.
The 38-year-old, who is in his 19th season with the organization, is well aware of what a talent like that could do for the team’s future.
He just doesn’t care, at least, not to the point where he will tank in an effort to lose.
“As a player, there is no chance that a player is going to tank,” he told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “Not one player. There’s no chance, no way.”
Doan admitted any player would want someone like McDavid or Eichel on their team, but no one will intentionally lose in order to make it happen.
“If you have any part of you that can think that it’s better for me to lose and that I’m going to happy with it,” Doan said. “I don’t think you get to the position of being in the NHL if you think you can find a player that’s that way.”
Just eight games remain in what has been a pretty disastrous season for the Coyotes. They’ve struggled throughout the campaign, and have been even worse since the trade deadline saw them part with Antoine Vermette, Keith Yandle and Zbynek Michalek, among others.
Those moves could be interpreted as the organization trying to get worse in order to get one of the top picks, though it could also be looked at as the franchise sacrificing the short term for long-term gain.
Either way, the Coyotes have been quite bad, which has put them in position to possibly get one of the best players to come through the draft in quite some time.
With two of their next three games against Buffalo, the only team worse than the Coyotes, Arizona could make up some ground, so to speak, in the race for a top pick. However, that would mean finishing with the worst record in the entire league, and that’s not exactly a badge of honor for the players or coaches.
But even if management wanted the team to lose games in order to secure a better draft position, it wouldn’t matter to Doan.
“To be honest, I could really care less what they say,” he said. “As a player, I don’t ever play for them. I don’t play for them — I mean, I want their approval when I’m winning, but if I ever feel they aren’t on my side, I don’t really think…no, I don’t care what. If they walked in the room and told us, ‘You have to lose this game,’ there is absolutely no way that one guy on our team is going to play to lose.”
To be fair, if your team had players willing to do poorly on purpose, would you want them on your team?
For his part, Doan talked about how upsetting it is to be on one of the worst teams in the league.
“Trust me, as a player, going out there and losing, and losing as much as we’ve lost, it’s embarrassing,” he said. “I do not like it. You can ask anyone that’s around — I am not happy about the way things are going right now.”
So no, Doan isn’t going out on the ice every night hoping the team loses, draft pick or not.
“That’s the farthest thing from anyone’s mind,” he said. “And trust me, that’s exactly with (Dave Tippett) the same thing. I think anybody that’s involved in the day-to-day does not want to lose a game, ever. I don’t care what the situation is.”