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Two of the more compelling players who may change addresses before the NHL trade deadline next Wednesday are veteran forwards Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla.
Both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer and both are willing to waive their no-trade clauses to chase a Stanley Cup, a trophy that has evaded them in their long and distinguished careers.
The 40-year-old Doan has resisted in the past to move on from the Arizona Coyotes, citing loyalty and family reasons for his decision.
He has played his entire career with the Winnipeg Jets/Coyotes organization, and when members of the inaugural 1996-97 Coyotes club were honoured on Saturday evening, there was Doan — still playing.
In a humorous twist, one of Doan’s teammates from 20 years ago, Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Gartner, accidently signed the back of Doan’s sweater. Doan played with the autograph visible in the hopes it might bring him some luck.
Mike Gartner mistakenly signs Shane Doan game jersey – https://t.co/amh5ESpKaZ https://t.co/4SwOvKuIti
The 39-year-old Iginla also said “no” to the possibility of a trade in his second season with the Colorado Avalanche a year ago. But he would gladly take a title shot with a new team this spring.
He’s been down this road before. Iginla asked Calgary, his longtime team, for a trade before the 2013 deadline and chose the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Boston Bruins, only to have his new team swept by the Bruins in the East final.
Even though their production is way down this season — Doan has five goals in 57 games after scoring 28 times last season, while Iginla has scored seven goals in 57 outings after checking in with 22 in 2015-16 — contending clubs could be interested in adding the veterans.
The fact that Iginla plays on the 30th-place Avalanche and Doan is with the 29th-place Coyotes has not helped their cause this season.
Both players, however, are durable and would bring in leadership, experience as well as a physical element. They would be support players, finding a spot in the top nine forwards and perhaps on the second power-play unit.
Iginla remains a threat on the side at the faceoff dot with his one-timer ability. Doan is a net-front presence who still possesses an excellent capacity to protect the puck and retrieve the puck after missed shots or errant pass attempts.
Even though Doan and Iginla have been rather light in terms of playoff experience and haven’t won a Stanley Cup, they are proven winners. Doan, in his 22nd NHL season, hasn’t been in the post-season since 2012, when the Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Coyotes in the West final. He has only 55 playoff games to his credit but has won two world championships with Canada in 2003 and 2007.
Iginla, in his 21st NHL season, has 81 games of playoff experience. He went to the final with the 2003-04 Calgary Flames, and won Olympic gold in 2002 and 2010.
Iginla and Doan were teammates with the winning Canadian side in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey but also suffered through the disappointment of the Canadian team that lost in the quarter-finals of the 2006 Olympics.
The Albertans go way back. They won back-to-back Memorial Cup championships with the Kamloops Blazers in 1993-94 and at home in 1994-95.
They then went to the draft in Edmonton, not far from their family homes. Iginla hails from the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert, while Doan was raised a couple of hours southeast in Halkirk.
Doan was taken seventh overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Iginla was selected four spots later by the Dallas Stars, but then traded a few months later to the Flames for Joe Nieuwendyk.
With the exception of the few times Doan and Iginla have played together for Canada, the friends have butted heads in the NHL as opponents for more than two decades.
In a way, they are opponents for this upcoming trade deadline because what they offer to a contender is similar. That’s why it will be interesting to see what develops for the two friends in the next 10 days.