|Alfredsson enters his 17th season with the Senators at 416 goals. (US Presswire)|
After an offseason filled with question marks regarding his future, the Senators and the franchise legend made the announcement on Tuesday that the man known simply as Alfie will indeed be back for another season.
"I'm excited to get ready for another season," Alfredsson said in the team's release. "I've been training for about a month and a half and my body feels a lot further ahead of where it was last year at this point. I expect to come into camp fitter and stronger than I did last year."
The 39-year-old Alfredsson still has another year on his contract and was still producing points last season for the Senators. Neither of those were the issue when discussing Alfredsson's future. Instead it was a matter of would he be physically able to do it. Well that and if he wanted to.
"I spoke to my family and we are all on the same page," Alfredsson said. "If I am motivated to continue to play, then they will be supportive of me playing. It really came down to asking if I had the motivation to come back and be happy about the decision to return. I definitely feel that way and know that I am ready and have more in the tank to give."
That's great news for the Sens, and that's much more than a sentimental feeling. Last season while Ottawa enjoyed a surprising campgain Alfie had 27 goals and 32 assists, passing the 400-goal plateau in the process. It's not quite what he was putting up in his heyday, but still absolutely nothing to scoff at.
Unless it's a goaltending statistic, if you go through the Senators' history books, you're likely going to see Alfredsson's name first on the list. He is first in franchise history in games, goals, assists and points. Ditto for those numbers in the playoffs. I guess that happens when you play 16 (soon to be 17) seasons at a high level for the same franchise.
It also solves a problem for the Sens that they never actually had to deal with. They were looking at the prospect of having to replace Alfredsson on the forward lines this season, explaining the team's pursuit of Rick Nash and the rumblings of their interest in Bobby Ryan. It will obviously be a question they will have to answer likely down the line, maybe next summer, but now they have a little better idea in Ottawa to prepare for what they will need to do.
The added benefit to it all? There aren't many players in the league you'd rather have to mentor a young roster than Alfie.
"Daniel's contributions to the hockey team cannot be understated," general manager Bryan Murray said. "He is a leader and a mentor to many of our young players. Daniel is also a great hockey player and we expect him to continue to be one of our best players as we look to improve on last year's accomplishments."
Looking at the team's accomplishments last season, making the playoffs and playing an exciting brand of hockey, likely was envigorating for Alfie too. If the Sens were to have played to expectations last season and missed the postseason you wonder if Alfredsson would have had such a hard time deciding.
Now go check your local team's schedule and see when the Sens are coming to town. This season should be a farewell tour for a future Hall of Famer. Maybe.
The two sides discussed an extension, in the end Alfredsson decided to play out his current contract and do a deal after next season.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) July 31, 2012