DETROIT – It didn’t take long for the Red Wings to sign a veteran forward moments after the free agency period opened Friday afternoon.
The Wings landed right winger Daniel Alfredsson, who has been the face of the Ottawa Senators for two decades, to a one-year contract.
Prior to late Thursday afternoon, Alfredsson wasn’t on the Red Wings’ radar, as their first priority in free agency was to sign a No. 2 center. However, his agent started shopping him around, seeking a one-year deal for the 40-year-old Swede who has spent his entire 17-year NHL career in Ottawa.
Alfredsson has been a highly-consistent player throughout his career, averaging 25 goals and 65 points each season. The Swede had been the Senators’ captain since taking over from Alexei Yashin back in 1999, and has been the linchpin of the franchise ever since – on and off the ice – as almost a point per game producer. On Friday morning, hours before teams could sign new players, the NHL’s longest-serving captain informed the Senators that he wouldn’t return to Ottawa.
The Senators fully anticipated re-signing their captain, whose leadership has often drawn comparisons to Steve Yzerman when he was captain of the Red Wings. Appearing at a news conference Thursday to discuss coach Paul MacLean’s three-year contract extension, Senators general manager Bryan Murray was quite confident that Alfredsson would re-sign with the Canadian club.
Now it appears Alfredsson will finish his illustrious playing career with the Red Wings and among several follow Swedes that he has played alongside at the Olympics and World Championships.
Alfredsson has an impeccable work ethic that will make his transition to the Red Wings’ locker room a smooth one. He’s always been a solid two-way forward, capable of killing penalties or manning the point on the power play. He holds the Senators' franchise records for goals (426), assists (682), and points (1,108) with 1,178 games played. A regular on the international stage, he’s appeared in 13 tournaments for Sweden. He’s played in four Olympics, winning gold in the Torino Games in 2006.
In the 2006 Games, Alfredsson produced personal tournament bests in goals (five), assists (five) and points (10) while playing on the second line with Mats Sundin and Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. Alfredsson has also skated in international tourneys with other Red Wings players and prospects such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Calle Jarnkrok, Jonas Gustavsson, Tomas Holmstrom and Mikael Samuelsson.
Alfredsson was the 75th player to reach 1,000 career points in the NHL when he collected three goals in a win at Buffalo on October 22, 2010.
Alfredsson won the 2013 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is given to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season. He also was the Calder Trophy recipient as the NHL's rookie of the year in 1996.
The Red Wings entered the open market originally seeking a No. 2 center to fill the role, especially if they were unable to re-sign Valtteri Filppula. The Wings have had discussions with representatives for several UFA centerman, including Tyler Bozak, Matt Cullen, Valtteri Filppula, Mikhail Grabovski, Max Lapierre, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Stephen Weiss.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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