The Ottawa Senators waited a couple of months for the decision, but their 39-year-old captain Daniel Alfredsson finally made up his mind and announced on July 31 that he’ll be returning to the NHL club for his 17th season with them.
The announcement was sure to please fans as much as it did team owner Eugene Melnyk. After hearing the news, Melnyk released a press statement which said Alfredsson is second to none when it comes to skill, leadership and commitment and his teammates and the city of Ottawa are thrilled that he’ll be returning. Melnyk added that he understands it was a tough decision for Alfredsson and his family to make, but he feels it was the right one since he still has so much to offer.
General manager Bryan Murray agreed by saying that Alfredsson’s contributions to the team go much further than his on-ice performances. He said the native of Gothenburg, Sweden is a mentor and leader to his teammates, especially the younger ones. Alfredsson proved last year that age wasn’t slowing him down as he scored 27 goals in 75 games and added 32 assists for 59 points. He was a plus 16 and served just 18 minutes in penalties. The right winger also scored a pair of goals in four playoff games in a series against the New York Rangers.
Alfredsson was honored after the 2011/12 NHL season when he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. This annual trophy is awarded to the NHL player who shows true leadership qualities both on and off of the ice and has also made a noticeable humanitarian contribution to the community. This wasn’t his first major award as he also took home the 1996 Calder trophy as the leagues’ best rookie after posting 26 goals and 35 assists as well as the Lady Byng Trophy in 2004 for being the most sportsmanlike player. Alfredsson has also been named a league all-star six times.
Alfredsson said he’s excited to be coming back for another season with the Senators since he’s in a lot better shape than he was at this point last year. He said he’s been training for six weeks already and will definitely show up at training camp fitter and in better shape than last season. He admitted that his family played a big part in his decision and they all felt he should continue with his career if he was still motivated to play the game. He said it really all came down to the motivation question, but he feels he still has enough to offer at a high level.
Alfredsson is the longest-serving captain in the NHL at the moment as he was given the C on his sweater just before the puck dropped for the 1999/2000 season. He leads the Senators franchise in just about every regular-season and playoff category. These include his 1,131 games played 416 goals, 666 assists, and 1,082 total points. He’s played in 111 playoff games where he has scored 47 goals and 43 assists for 90 points.
Alfredsson has performed just as well on the international hockey stage. He has played 13 different tournaments with Sweden at the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship, the World Cup, and the Olympic Winter Games. He was a member of his country’s gold-medal winning team at the Olympics in 2006. He was drafted originally by Ottawa in the NHL Entry Draft in 1994 where he was chosen in the second round with the 133rd overall selection.