PHOENIX -- Shane Doan could have waited for the offers to pour in starting Canada Day and then pick his team.
The Phoenix Coyotes captain, who was eligible to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, was on the verge of being handed everything he could want on a silver platter.
We're not just talking about buckets of cash but also the chance to finally play for a winner.
Instead, he stayed put.
Doan's name was already making the rounds as a potential acquisition for teams looking to win the Stanley Cup. There were even rumours of a deal to the Calgary Flames for the Alberta boy.
The power forward, who'll face the Flames tonight, needs just one goal to reach the 20-goal mark for the seventh consecutive season. He could have netted the Coyotes a healthy return in what's been so far been a seller's market.
He took himself out of the trade deadline mix, though, by inking a five-year, $23-million US deal.
He'd have easily received that much as a free-agent but Doan was happy to remain with the only franchise he's ever known.
But he admits, though, he did think about leaving.
"It's something that crossed my mind," Doan said after yesterday's practice. "I look at Langks and Jarome (Flames forwards and buddies Daymond Langkow and Jarome Iginla), how they're doing and how much fun they're having, or some other good friends like Brendan Morrison and Roberto Luongo and it was very tempting to see if I could go to one of those kind of teams.
"But, I feel I owe Phoenix a bit of loyalty. They've kept me here this long and made me their captain. As much as we've been losing, I'm on the ice for that and have to take responsibility too for that.
"I want to see if I can win here."
Looking out over a freshly cleaned sheet of ice where his five-year-old son, Josh, was skating following the Coyotes session, Doan said the talk of a potential trade didn't bother him one iota.
After all, it's nice to know people still notice standout players, even if their team will miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
"In a way it was kinda flattering, the fact somebody would feel you're important enough to win," he said.
"It's nice, as a player, to think other teams appreciate you as a player because down here you can get kinda lost."
But Doan's decision to sign a long-term deal that will keep his family -- he and wife Andrea have four children -- in Phoenix was about more than just loyalty and comfort.
A big part of his decision stemmed from a meeting with GM Mike Barnett and Coyotes CEO Jeff Shumway during which he was given a blueprint for what they believe will amount to long-term success.
"One of the things I thought a lot about was seeing what Calgary went through in those seven years (without playoffs) and never seemed to be making a turn but now they're one of my picks to win it all. They turned it around," he said.
Is such a turnaround in the cards for the Coyotes?
Time will tell but Doan believes many pieces are in place.
"Our blueline is as good as any when you look at the guys," he said. "We've got a solid group. Our forwards need to be better, I need to be better, and we've got to be more consistent."