Say what you will about Sportsnet, but Senators correspondant Ian Mendes has conducted himself with a lot of class and restraint while covering the Senators. He’s as aware as anyone of how sensitive this fan base is about Alfie. With that in mind, I don’t take his report that this might be Alfredsson’s last season, and that he would consider a trade, very lightly.
I don’t want to use this space to get sentimental about the best player in franchise history. If and when this supposed trade or retirement happens, there will be no shortage of tributes – from us included. But right now I can’t help but think about how unbelievably helpful trading a player of Alfredsson’s caliber could be for this team. Having him retire as a Senator would be nice. Getting a 1st round pick and a prospect, having him win a cup, and then welcoming him home with a cushy front office gig or the title of Swedish scouting czar would be even better.
Because Alfie isn’t just a nice deadline acquisition: he would be one of the best on the deadline market in years. He still led this team in scoring before going on the shelf last year. He plays an incredible two-way game, plays on the power play and penalty kill, has been a captain in the NHL for years, has produced late into the playoffs, and has done so consistently. If Keith Tkachuk could get St. Louis a player, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick (albiet from Don Waddell, hardly a model GM), what does Alfie garner?
There’s also the comic book fantasy of seeing one of our favorite players compete on one of the league’s most skilled teams. How would he do in Detroit, or Vancouver? What would he look like playing on the powerplay in Washington?
And besides: this is probably his last year. It’s less any one injury problem than a nagging and unspecific set of maladies that are keying the captain in on the impending end. After 16 seasons in the NHL, there’s just an amount of wear-and-tear the human body has difficulty sustaining. He’s already celebrated his 1000th game, his 1000th point, and an Olympic gold medal. There aren’t too many milestones left for him other than winning the Cup.
This one might hurt, sure. But you know what’s worse? Living through the Mats Sundin debacle in Ottawa. Weeks upon weeks of intense media coverage asking if he’d be willing to accept a trade, whether he’d do what is right for the franchise again, one last time, by getting us that extra draft pick or prospect. Sure, Alfie’s earned the right to choose, and no one will hold it against him if he chooses to stay. But thinking about the possibilities for this rebuilding club is tantalizing.
Fortunately i dont think that it would ever become a mats sundin type situation. Ottawa media isnt great, but they arent all insane like the TO media. Also Sens fans would never hold it against him regardless of his choice. Alot of Leafs fans were outraged one way or another.
I must say no matter what Alfie does I stand by his side. If he takes a shot at the cup pre-retirement hey, Worse things have happened and as much as it would suck to see him in different colours what more can we ask of the guy at this point? Lord knows he’ll be comin on home soon after. If you love something Swedish you must set it meat…ball
You’re overrating Alfie’s trade value.
Besides that, good article. If Alfie has any desire to go elsewhere, he does a damn good job of hiding it.
If he’s healthy I think there’d be a pretty great market for Alfie. He’s not exactly Doug Weight or Mark Recchi – which is to say, a good veteran in the dressing room who otherwise plays third line minutes. He’s still valuable as a top six forward who can play in any situation. He also has a year left on his contract at only $1M (though admittedly the cap hit is higher), and might be convinced to stay on for that year to play with a contender. A low first rounder and a prospect doesn’t seem unreasonable for that.
If Alfie is healthy come deadline time, i’m pretty sure a lot of teams will be calling Old Man Murray about trading for him. At that point the cap hit will be a lot easier to absorb and the kind of tools Alfie brings to a team on the verge of a deep playoff push really don’t come by too often. I’d love to see him go to a team like Detroit for a chance to play for the cup. I believe that Murray will do the classy thing and let Alfie stay or go as he pleases without pressuring him in any way.