By Allan Muir
Daniel Alfredsson ended last season as the NHL’s longest serving captain.
That streak, apparently, is over.
Multiple reports confirm the veteran is leaving the Ottawa Senators after 17 seasons to pursue his options in free agency.
Alfredsson is the most beloved player in Senators history, and holds a number of franchise records including games played (1,178), goals (426), assists (682), and points (1,108). He scored 10 goals and 36 points last season, proving there’s still some life in his 40-year-old legs.
This just in from Renaud Lavoie of RDS:
Helene St. James is reporting that the deal definitely is for one year, and is heavy on bonuses that, if needed, can be deferred to 2014-15 when the salary cap will rise above next season’s $64.3 million.
The deal officially is entered as one year at $5.5 million ($3.5 million in salary and $2 million in bonuses).
This is a devastating loss for the Senators, which has to face the coming season with its heart ripped out. He wasn’t just the face of the franchise. Alfredsson was a massive presence in the room and in the community.
GM Bryan Murray revealed in an afternoon press conference that he made every effort to re-sign the veteran and that owner Eugene Melnyk authorized him to do whatever it took to finalize a deal. But Alfredsson, he said, had decided that he wanted to pursue a chance at the Cup and thought the Red Wings were in a better position to give him that chance.
“I’ve played 18 years and I haven’t won the Stanley Cup,” Alfredsson said during a conference call. “That’s my dream. I had an opportunity to talk to a couple of teams. Everybody knows Detroit’s goal is always to be at the top of the game and to win championships. I’m really excited to get this opportunity at this stage of my career, to go for a Stanley Cup and pursue a long-time dream.”
Alfredsson also was in discussions with the Boston Bruins until the last minute.
“He deserves the opportunity to do what he did,” Murray said, taking the high road despite his obvious disappointment. “We’re going to miss him as a person, a leader, a guy in the community.”