They say nothing lasts forever, and today was proof of that. Daniel Alfredsson, formerly the longest tenured captain in the NHL, has ended his time with the Ottawa Senators. A member of the Sens since 1995, Alfredsson's contract was up at the end of last season. When he announced he'd come back for one more year, everyone assumed that it would be with the Ottawa Senators.
Instead, he's the newest member of the Swedish Mafia in Detroit.
This won't be a Mike Modano one-off season, though. Alfredsson has more gas left in his tank than Modano did. At a one year, $5.5 million contract, this is an expensive investment for the Wings but one that they can make easily. It also implies that Ottawa, when they gave Alfredsson a "blank check," told him that there was a limit on it.
This draws the Senators' finances into question, obviously. You have the face of your franchise - a leader in every sense of the word - and your team's captain, and you don't secure him. It's never a good sign when you let your team's captain walk in free agency; it's nearly as bad as trading him during a rebuild. This is crushing on multiple levels for Sens fans, and for hockey fans in general. So much for the hope that some guys will spend their whole careers with one team. Nicklas Lidstrom might be the last of a dying breed.
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I've got some friends in Ottawa, so the Sens are something of my adopted Eastern Conference team, and while I haven't heard from them on this yet, I know I don't like it. It's not as though Alfie's gone to a serious contender in search of a Cup before he calls it quits - with the Sens still building, even Sens fans could (grudgingly) accept their captain looking for a date with Lord Stanley. Maybe it's just my reflexive dislike of Detroit talking, but really, aside from the digits on the contract, is this really functionally different from staying in Ottawa, from a competitive standpoint?
Beyond that, it's the end of an era that probably shouldn't have ended. Alfredsson could've stayed in that small class including Lidstrom and Brodeur. It's certainly what I expected, when he announced that he'd give it another go-around.
Ah well, such is sport these days.