Lost in all the hype surrounding Daniel Alfredsson leaving town is that the Ottawa Senators are better without him. Let’s face it, Alfie’s days as a top player in the league are long gone. The franchise legend will one day retire his number 11 no doubt, but moving forward, it’s not a huge loss. Alfredsson served as Sens captain for over a decade, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, losing to the Anaheim Ducks.
On the very same day the Sens lost their beloved captain unthinkably to free agency they acquired twenty-six year old star Bobby Ryan from the aforementioned Anaheim Ducks for Stefan Noesen, and a 1st round pick. Hefty price to pay for Ryan, but worth it. The versatile winger has quietly enjoyed a terrific career thus far. Ryan is a four time 30 goal scorer, impressively, accumulating his top tier goal totals with second line minutes and on some occasions, while playing on the 2nd power-play unit.
Daniel Alfredsson will be missed, but his presence represents the last of a winless era in Sens history. Sure, he played for many great Senators teams but they never could figure out a way to bring the Stanley Cup to Canada’s capital city. If you think about it, some members of the Sens’ incredible core that won a Presidents’ Trophy in 2002-03 went on to win the Cup elsewhere, while Alfie could not as a Sen. Zdeno Chara captained the Bruins to two finals, winning once. Marian Hossa has played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 4 of the last 6 seasons, winning the Cup twice now as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Alfredsson stayed with the Sens and won no Cups.
Like Mike Modano before him, Alfredsson decided that the perfect end to his long career with the same organization should be played as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. I guess a lot of the older guys in the league have a ton of respect for what the Red Wings have accomplished over the last 20 years. Are they really still a top contender though? For the first time since before the 40 year old Alfredsson entered the NHL in 1995, it’s debatable.
Alfredsson is the franchise leader in goals(426), assists(682) and points(1,178), among other things. He endured the Yashin era, the Jacques Martin era, the Dany Heatley era, and the rocky road that has been the Bryan Murray era. All throughout, Alfredsson has done nothing but bring his ‘A’ game on the ice. He had a great run, and he’ll go down in Sens history because of it.
As the Captain leaves in quest of a Cup, the Senators should not mourn his departure. Alfredsson’s inability to win a championship in Ottawa is as much his doing as it was the organizations.’ As captain and leader, he inherits a bulk of the blame for previous playoff failures, and maybe rightfully so. The good news is, Jason Spezza ain’t old yet, and in Erik Karlsson, the Sens have a very young player with all the potential to be much greater than Daniel ever was.
You have to admit, the Sens did it right. Whereas, the Maple Leafs had no immediate backup plan for Mats Sundin leaving, and the Flames look like they may struggle for a few without Iggy, the Senators maintain as good a squad as they did with Alfie, if not better. And they’re young, made even younger by Alfredsson’s exit. Young teams win in today’s NHL. Maybe they’ll win one for Alfie, without Alfie.