Thanks to his impressive play in the American Hockey League with the Tucson Roadrunners, Josh Doan will be the third Arizona State Sun Devil alumni to play in the NHL. It’s a move that has been in the makings for months now especially due to the Roadrunners’ success.

Shortly after the Arizona Coyotes’ 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday, March 24, PHNX reporter Craig Morgan announced that Doan was called up by the team per general manager Bill Armstrong. Morgan later reported that the Scottsdale-born forward will play his first game in the NHL on Tuesday, March 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Doan’s Beginnings

Doan’s hockey career hasn’t always been successful despite his last name. The forward played with the Jr. Coyotes while growing up in Arizona and frequently attended Coyotes games along with his siblings to watch his dad, legendary NHLer Shane Doan, play. Shane played his whole career with the franchise and captained the team from 2003 to his eventual retirement in 2017.

Josh was selected 95th overall in the USHL draft by the Chicago Steel. He struggled heavily in his first season with the Steel in 2019-20, only producing 14 points in 45 games. It was the first season he was eligible for the NHL draft as well, but every single team passed over him in the draft.

Despite the struggles and poor point production in his first season with the Steel, Josh turned things around in his sophomore season, finishing at above a point-per-game rate with 70 points in 53 games. He also turned into an incredible goal scorer recording 31 goals that season. Finishing third in terms of points on the team and the league, the Steel went on to win the Clark Cup. Josh would also commit to Arizona State, paving his way back to his hometown.

Related: Predicting Arizona Coyote Barrett Hayton’s Next Contract

Before the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the NHL Central Scouting Bureau ranked Josh as the 87th-best North American skater available. Many viewed his powerful shot as his biggest weapon and despite being a goal scorer rather than a playmaker, his passing was another thing many liked about the young forward. The one knock on his game was his skating but it was something that could easily be fixed. 

The Coyotes, by the time of the 2021 draft, had stockpiled quite a few picks for the next couple of seasons. They had regained a first-round pick during the Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade after losing their own due to violations of the combine testing policy. They had also shipped off a bunch of big names like Darcy Kuemper, Connor Garland, Adin Hill, and Derek Stephan. Through those trades and others, they were able to gain a lot of draft capital as they entered a rebuild. With their first pick in the draft, they selected Dylan Guenther.

Their next pick was the 37th-overall pick, and with that pick, the Coyotes selected Josh. It made headlines as Shane was the one who announced it to make his son part of the organization he used to play for and at the time, helped manage. It was a special moment for the Coyotes despite all the controversy that had been attached to them in the past year.

Doan’s ASU and Pro Debut

Doan played two years with ASU after he was drafted, serving as captain in his second season. He tallied 75 points across 74 games and led the team in goals in his sophomore season. He also broke the program record for the most amount of points scored by a rookie while also christening Mullett Arena by scoring the first-ever goal in the building. He dazzled in front of his hometown fans while becoming one of the best players ever to wear the pitchfork.

After the conclusion of ASU’s 2022-23 season, it was debated if Doan was going to return for a final season with the team or turn pro. The answer came weeks later after he signed an NHL entry-level deal along with an AHL deal that allowed him to play with the Roadrunners for the remainder of the 2022-23 AHL season.

“It was something I didn’t really expect … for the past couple of weeks I’ve been debating it and talking back and forth with my family about it,” Doan said to Arizona Sports. “Obviously the decision was to turn pro.”

Josh somewhat struggled in his first stint with the Roadrunners, recording six points in 14 games and one point in three playoff games. It was expected especially considering he was coming over from a mediocre ASU team. 

Josh Doan, Arizona State University
Josh Doan, Arizona State University (Paige Shacklett, Communication Manager and Men’s Ice Hockey SID at ASU)

However, similar to what he did with the Steel, Doan really flipped the switch in his first full season with the team. On a line for most of the season with fellow-2021-draftee Guenther, Doan has lit up the league, recording 46 points in 62 games. He’s helped the Roadrunners be one of the top teams in the AHL while proving himself as a potential top-nine forward in the future with the Coyotes.

On top of all of that, Doan impressed many before the season started, recording seven points in three rookie tournament games and notching a hat trick in a preseason game against the Blues. During the season, he also was named an AHL All-Star. Those are impressive accolades that got fans excited for the hometown forward and forced Armstrong to think about calling him up.

Unfortunately for Doan, Guenther was the first call-up out of the two star Roadrunners. Guenther immediately produced with the Coyotes and cemented a spot in the lineup while Josh was forced to keep proving himself down in the AHL. However, after the trade deadline when Armstrong dealt Jason Zucker to the Nashville Predators and a spot was opened in the lineup as a result, many speculated whether it was simply a matter of time before the young forward got the call to play for his hometown team.

The Call of a Lifetime

Eventually, similar to Guenther, Doan’s impressive season had to be rewarded and it was with Sunday’s news of the call-up. While the call-up most likely won’t be long due to the Roadrunners in a hunt for a playoff spot, it provides Josh with a chance to prove himself and also rewards Coyotes fans, not only with a chance to see the son of one of the most cherished players in franchise history lace them up in the same jersey along but also the chance to see another part of the bright future Armstrong has been building. 

When Doan hits the ice on Tuesday against the Blue Jackets, he’ll be the third ASU alumni to play in an NHL game, following Seattle Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord and former San Jose Sharks defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk’s footsteps. He’ll be the first Arizona-born forward to have played for the school to make it to the NHL as well. On top of all of that, Doan will be the 10th Arizona-born player to play in an NHL game; a testament to how much the game has grown in the state.

It’ll be interesting to see where Doan will fit in the lineup. Will he play with Guenther, whom he formed strong chemistry with during his time with the Roadrunners? Wherever he plays, he’ll be getting a very loud standing ovation when he skates out for his rookie lap. This will be a great test for the rookie as well. For years, he was in the press box, watching his dad play in a Coyotes jersey and waiting for his time to come. On Tuesday, for the first time, Shane will be in the press box watching his son play in the Coyotes jersey as Josh begins his path to hopefully be just as good, if not better than his dad.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here