Longtime Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will wear a different jersey for the first time in his career next season as he has signed with the Detroit Red Wings, according to the team's website. Alfredsson's deal comes with a $5.5 million cap hit, with a $3.5 million base salary and $2 million in bonuses, according to multiple reports.
Last season, Alfredsson put up 26 points in 47 games for the injury-ravaged Senators. He also showed he has plenty of jump left with 10 points in 10 postseason contests.
The Stanley Cup has eluded Alfredsson over his 18-year career, which played a prominent role in his decision.
"It pretty much came down to a selfish decision in terms of I have not won a Stanley Cup, a big priority for me," Alfredsson explained in a candid conference call with the media.
Alfredsson may be gambling a bit, but the Red Wings annually seem to contend for a title. Even in what might be considered a down year for the club, Detroit had eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago on the ropes in the second round this postseason.
"I didn't really see myself making a change if you would have asked me a week ago, but as we got closer to free agency, thoughts started creeping in I've played 18 years and haven't won a Stanley Cup," he said.
Alfredsson felt the Wings are closer to Cup contention than Ottawa right now, which mainly triggered the move.
"I feel that in Ottawa they are getting closer and closer and they have a really bright future in front of them, but at this point in my career there's not much left," Alfredsson said. "I don't have the time to wait for that."
Fellow Swede and Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg played a prominent role in Alfredsson's recruitment, the newest Red Wing said. However, having good friends on the team isn't the only thing Alfredsson likes about the Wings.
"I just really like the way Detroit plays hockey," he said. "It's a possession game, a push-the-play game. I just felt with their personnel I could come in and be of help in different areas and be part of something really good. I know a few of the guys from before, I know how they play. The culture of Detroit really thrills me with what I've heard."
The Red Wings have long been a team that leans heavily on veteran players and has never shied away from acquiring older, past-their-prime guys to bring some added experience to their lineup. Additionally the team was able to add free agent Stephen Weiss, who should help revamp the club's top six forwards.
Alfredsson still has something left in the tank and the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup could energize the former Senator, after looking pretty worn down after Ottawa's postseason loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 40-year-old winger appeared in 1,178 career games with the Senators, amassing 1,108 points over 18 seasons. He knows how his leaving Ottawa may be perceived in the place he called home for 18 years.
"I'm not worried about my legacy," he said. "I expect there will be resentment and anger from fans. I think there definitely should be. I have my favorite sport teams, too, and if something happens to the players on my team that I don't like, that doesn't benefit me, I don't like it."
As tough as it was to leave the Senators, Alfredsson only has one thing in his mind right now.
"This is truly a situation to me that this is about me, it's a decision I make for myself, not for anybody else," he continued. "It's all about trying to get the Stanley Cup."