Let me begin with a bit of a disclaimer.
I do not think Daniel Alfredsson is going to sign with the Ottawa Senators this off season. He enjoyed his time in Detroit and if he’s going to come back for one more season, and all indications are that he will, he’s more than willing to do it in a Red Wings uniform. Alright, now that we have that out of the way…
People are talking. It’s a quiet rumble at this point but a rumble nonetheless. With Alfredsson approaching unrestricted free agency for a second consecutive summer, people in the Ottawa area, some with connections and some without, are quietly asking the question;
Would Alfie come back?
I know what you’re thinking- that bridge was burnt last summer. And you are probably right. The negotiations between Alfredsson and the Senators were ugly. Ottawa had no money and tried to nickel and dime the face of the franchise. But I don’t think it was because they wanted to. Rather, because they had to. The Senators were in a situation where they could not afford to pay Alfredsson the money he was demanding. And they certainly couldn’t afford to add the pieces Alfie was hoping for to make the team a contender.
And then it all sort of came apart when the Owner tried to take matters into his own hands.
But a year has passed and there has been time to heal. He went to Detroit in pursuit of a Cup and came up short. Detroit is a decent team but they won’t be competing for a Cup next year either. He could go back there but even he would admit that a Stanley Cup is a long shot with the Red Wings. There hasn’t really been any talk about Alfredsson looking to sign with a different contender either. And it seems unlikely he’d be looking to pick up his family and move to a new city for the second time in 12 months.
And that’s where Ottawa comes into play. Alfredsson still spends time in the area. He still has friends here in Ottawa. He has family here. Lehner has been keeping his house warm for him.
The situation in Ottawa has changed a little bit too. With a budget in place, they probably won’t be a contender next season but they will have to spend some money this off season. Michalek, Hemsky and Spezza will all likely come off the books, leaving the team in a situation where they’ll have to spend to get to the cap floor. So rather than commit big money and term to one of the fringe free agents available on the UFA market, maybe they look for a short term option, and capitalize on a chance to right a wrong in the process? You know the team’s star defenceman would support the decision and after a tough 2013, keeping him happy should sort of be a priority for this organization.
I have no idea if he’ll even answer the phone, but Bryan Murray may want to put a call into to Alfie and his agent this summer. This team desperately needs a good news story this off season and bringing back Daniel Alfredsson would certainly qualify.
Am I dreaming? Only one way to know for sure…