It wasn’t the type of ending that Ottawa Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson was hoping for in what could be his final year in the NHL. Ousted by the highly talented Pittsburgh Penguins in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the long time captain of the Senators drew most of the attention as the series came to a close. Will he retire? Was this the last we’ve seen of Daniel Alfredsson in a Senators uniform?
Alfredsson told the Canadian Press that he feels his game is still strong enough to compete in the NHL and needs some time before rushing to a decision.
“I feel my game is good enough and I can keep up and I don’t feel like I don’t have it anymore.”
A father of four, Alfredsson has more than just himself to think about when making this decision, one that he isn’t taking lightly. He admitted to the CP that the grind of a full summer of training and preparing for a long, enduring winter is taxing not only on himself, but on his wife and children as well.
The other factor that could come in to play is whether or not the Senators offer Alfredsson a contract for next season. Soon to be an unrestricted free agent, it’s hard to picture Alfredsson in a jersey other than the Senators. With the team performing at a higher rate than expected the last two seasons, this club may not be far off from becoming legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Alfredsson has compiled an impressive resume that makes him a sure bet to be called to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the future. He’s played in 1,178 career regular season games, scoring 426 goals, 682 assists that combine for 1,108 points. That’s nearly a point per game and there aren’t many of those players around anymore.
Throughout his career he’s played in 121 playoff games, scoring 51 goals and 100 points. Also an impressive accomplishment.
But for Alfredsson there is one missing piece from his hockey resume; a Stanley Cup Championship. Even he admitted that was what he feels is the only thing left to prove.
That in itself could be enough motivation for Alfredsson to come back for one more year, maybe more. The question would then become, do the Senators have what it takes to win a Cup with Alfredsson, or does he start exploring free agent opportunities with a club that will give him that chance?
We’ll know more in a week, but if I were a betting man, I’m taking Alfredsson to return next season. The raw emotion of wanting to win a Stanley Cup will keep the fire burning, as it should.