Ottawa Senators fans, don’t look now, but at the conclusion of this 2013 season, the beloved-by-fans Daniel Alfredsson‘s contract will expire and he will become an unrestricted free agent.
At that time, should the team brass act to give him another deal, perhaps on a shorter contract length, and keep “Alfie” wearing the colors of the Sens? I think they definitely should.
Alfredsson is an immense part of the team’s identity. Drafted by Ottawa in 1994, he has never played for any other NHL team and has never been in the minors. He’s currently at just over 1,150 games and gunning to hit at least 1,200. He captained a team at the 2012 All-Star Game (and came very close to scoring a hat trick in the game), and last season I seem to remember some sort of tribute to number 11 that involved crowds in Scotiabank Place loudly counting down the last 11 seconds of a period.
He was the 75th NHL player to hit 1,000 career points back in 2010, he holds all three scoring metric franchise records for the Sens, he leads the team in points right now, he’s represented Sweden 13 times internationally and has been favorably compared to Steve Yzerman in terms of just how much the team needs him.
I’ve recently heard whispers that the Boston Bruins should consider going after either Alfredsson or Jarome Iginla, especially with the money freed up by trading away Tim Thomas. But to me, both of those seem practically sacrilegious. Iginla and Alfredsson are alike inasmuch as they’re both veteran players who have become so closely associated with their current team that it’s hard to imagine the teams without them. Granted, the idea of the Bruins without Ray Bourque was probably hard to fathom when he went off to the Colorado Avalanche for the chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Having the ability to potentially go out as a Cup champion is the probable reason why Alfredsson could test the market as a UFA or be traded, though the Sens are in the playoff picture as of right now.
Still, it just seems doubtful and strange that Ottawa leadership will allow Alfie to explore his options. So long as he still feels good and eager to play at the end of this season, he’ll pull a Teemu Selanne–keep everyone guessing, then come back for another year. Maybe he’ll even make one of those funny commercials about his decision like Selanne did.