The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/05/13 at 11:41 AM ET
Updated 23x at 3:59 PM: After fifteen updates to the Daniel Alfredsson rumor thread, here's the gnus regarding Alfredsson joining the Red Wings:
And, regarding Daniel Cleary (no news on Damien Brunner or Valtteri Filppula as of yet)...
Alfredsson will fit in--the Wings do not expect him to be a superstar, but instead, part of the puzzle--and given that Khan's reporting that Stephen Weiss wants $6 million a season for 5 years (Clarkson and Horton want more $/term), it's no wonder that the Wings went for a back-up plan.
And, regarding Cleary:
Alfredsson, who’s a right-handed shot, had 10 goal and 16 assists in 47 games this last season.
The signing means that Daniel Cleary is likely not returning.
Cleary was looking for a three-year deal at around $3 million per season.
Dallas could be a nice landing spot for Cleary, where Jim Nill has taken over. The Stars also just signed Shawn Horcoff, who has become good friends with Cleary.
Update #3: The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has weighed in:
This will be shocking news for the people of Ottawa, but Alfredsson informed the club before unrestricted free agency because he wanted to give the Senators time to find a replacement.
Former Senators coach Jacques Martin, an analyst for TVA Sports in Montreal who was with Alfredsson from 1996 to 2004, said he was surprised by the news.
“I am surprised. I know what kind of person, character and what he’s meant to the franchise,” said Martin from Montreal. “At the same time, I almost compare it to Ray Bourque.
“When you look at Ray Bourque in Boston, he was that franchise, he was the ultimate. Daniel is the same. Does he have a chance winning a Cup in Ottawa next year? Well ... He probably feels he has a chance of winning a Stanley Cup.”
Martin said this was a tough decision for Alfredsson.
“I’m sure that was difficult. He has played his entire career there. He really is Mr. Ottawa,” said Martin. “When you think about Ottawa and their team, they’ve been outstanding he’s been a big part of that with his leadership and play. He probably felt that he wanted to give himself a chance of winning a Stanley Cup. He’s won a gold medal with Sweden. If he goes to Detroit, they’ve got several Swedish players.”
The Red Wings Get: RW Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson, 40, suffered through the worst year of his career in 2010-2011, but has rebounded in the two years since to score 85 points in 122 games. That 0.70 points per game as a 39 and 40-year-old player ranks sixth since 1980 among players aged 39, 40 and 41. Alfredsson also put up better puck possession numbers in the last couple seasons too, an indication that his production rebound wasn't merely by luck.
A 13-time 20-goal scorer, Alfredsson has also been logging big minutes for the Senators, playing 19:21 per game last season, second-highest among Ottawa forwards.
In Detroit, Alfredsson will likely play a prominent role if not necessarily quite as many minutes, perhaps skating on the wing with fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg, a position that should afford Alfredsson the opportunity to produce enough to justify his place on the depth chart, since Zetterberg consistently holds an edge in territorial play, regardless of who his linemates have been over the years.
At the same time, Alfresson did generate only 2.15 shots per game last season, the second-lowest rate of his career and his shooting percentage (9.9%) was the third-lowest of his career, so there are signs of declining production. Could he still score 50-plus points in a full season? Sure.
Ottawa will miss Alfredsson, who also led the team with 10 points in 10 playoff games last season, but the Senators have Jakob Silfverberg heading into his second season and Alfredsson's departure will likely make the Senators a more active suitor in free agency, where they could get highly-coveted David Clarkson, but may also want to consider Jarome Iginla, Michael Ryder or Clarke MacArthur to help replace the lost production.
Alfredsson's deal is reportedly for $3.5-million, with bonuses that could make it worth as much as $5.5-million.
It's rare for any player to last his entire career with one franchise, yet it always comes as a shock when one that has remained with a team for so long finally moves on. Alfredsson has given his all to the Senators and has every right to pick and choose where he will spend the last years of his career.
That he feels comfortable with Detroit, a team that still has a strong veteran Swedish contingent (including Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Mikael Samuelsson in addition to Zetterberg) is understandable and, as strange as it might look initially, it's still easy to see Alfredsson as a solid complementary player for the Red Wings and, on a one-year deal, he's a low-risk investment for a team that expects to contend every year.
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 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.
And MLive's Ansar Khan:
Daniel Alfredsson is 40 and nearing the end of his Hall-of-Fame career, but the Detroit Red Wings believe in his skills, work ethic and character.
The Red Wings moved quickly in free agency today by signing Alfredsson to a one-year, incentive-laden contract. The deal is worth up to $5.5 million. He'll get a base salary of $3.5 million, with an additional $2 million in easily attainable bonuses.
Alfredsson had been the face of the franchise for the Ottawa Senators for 17 seasons. He also was their captain. He desperately wants to win his first Stanley Cup, and apparently feels the Red Wings have a good chance. He also was considering the Cup finalist Boston Bruins.
The Red Wings are moving to the Eastern Conference next season, joining a division that includes the Senators. So Alfredsson will be playing against his former team four or five times and making at least two trips to Ottawa.
The right-handed shooter could join fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg on the second line.
Alfredsson can play in all situations. He can play the point on the power play and he kills penalties. He is a creative playmaker and has some finishing ability with a good shot.
Update #10: The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren confirms:
The news represents quite a turn of events. Only a week ago, Senators fans and players alike were rejoicing over the news Alfredsson, 40, had chosen to return to play another season.
Star defenceman and fellow Swede Erik Karlsson, who has been so close to Alfredsson during his years with the Senators, tweeted “It’s A Beautiful Day” in response to the news, a reference to the song by U2, Alfredsson’s favourite band.
But the music is now over for Senators fans who can’t fathom how the organization could allow the team’s all time leader in every significant offensive and longevity category to get away.
Alfredsson is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. He has played in 1,178 regular season games, scoring 426 goals and 682 assists. His playoff resumé includes a franchise record 121 games played and a franchise-high 51 goals and 49 assists. He owns his own chapter in the Senators’ record books.
It now appears he will close out his career with a Red Wings franchise that will move to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season.
More to come.
TSN and everyone else are confirming, too.
Update #11: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms and adds the following:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland has other issues to deal with other than Alfredsson. Forwards Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner are all unrestricted free agents.
Cleary could be bound for Dallas, where former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill is now the GM of the Stars.
Brunner appears to be headed for the free-agent market and likely will not return to the Wings.
The Red Wings could also be in the hunt for one of many unrestricted free agent centers available such as Mike Ribeiro, Stephen Weiss or Mikhail Grabovski.
Update #12: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Craig Button on the signing:
Update #13: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms:
Wings general manager Ken Holland reached out to Alfredsson on Thursday.
Alfredsson, who can play the point on the power play as well as kill penalties, wants to win a Stanley Cup and therefore narrowed his choices of where to play between Detroit, Boston and Ottawa.
Alfredsson, who had been the league’s longest serving captain, will fit well in the Wings locker room that’s full of Swedish-born players and could fit well on a line with Henrik Zetterberg.
That makes eight Swedes now in Detroit’s locker room – Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson, Gustav Nyquist and Jonas Gustavsson.
Alfredsson, who’s a right-handed shot, had 10 goal and 16 assists in 47 games this last season.
Over his 1,178-game career, he has 426 goals and 682 assists.
Update #14: Here's the official press release:
RED WINGS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE AGENT FORWARD DANIEL ALFREDSSON ON A ONE-YEAR DEAL
... 17-Year NHL Veteran has Collected 1,108 Points in 1,178 Games …
Detroit, MI... Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has agreed to terms with free agent forward Daniel Alfredsson on a one-year contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
Alfredsson, 40, has spent his entire 17-year National Hockey League career with the Ottawa Senators, the team that selected him in the sixth round (133rd overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. The 5-11, 200-lb. forward has skated in 1,178 career regular season games, collecting 426 goals (sixth among active NHL players) and 682 assists (fourth among active players) for 1,108 points. Alfredsson is Ottawa’s all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points. The Gothenburg, Sweden, native has captained the Senators since the 1999-2000 season. A dependable two-way player, Alfredsson has a career plus-minus rating of +153 (10th among active players) and has notched 69 career game-winning goals (eighth among active players). In 121 career postseason games, he has registered 51 goals and 49 assists for 100 points.
Alfredsson won the 1996 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year after posting 61 points (26G-35A-61P) in 82 games during his freshman campaign and was named to the 1995-96 All-Rookie Team. He has skated in six career NHL All-Star Games (1996, ’97, ’98, 2004, ’08, ’12) and was named a Second Team NHL All-Star following the 2005-06 season when he posted career-bests with 43 goals, 60 assists and 103 points. Known for his leadership qualities on and off the ice, Alfredsson has been recognized with two awards over the past two seasons, winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2012 for humanitarian contributions to his community and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2013 as the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team during the regular season.
Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner also confirms...
Alfredsson, 40, is a right-handed shot, which Detroit has desperately searched for during the past several seasons.
A 17-year veteran, Alfredsson has spent entire career with the Senators. In 1178 games, he has 426 goals and 682 assists. He’s played in 121 playoffs games and has totaled 51 goals and 49 assists.
This is a good fit for the Wings. Not only is Alfredsson -- 5 feet 11 inches tall and 203 pounds -- a premiere forward, but his influence on the Wings' young crop of forwards will be immeasurable. It’s expected that he’ll play right wing on Henrik Zetterberg’s line.
Detroit has always coveted Swedish players, so it’s a no-brainer that they would pursue Alfredsson once it became clear that he wouldn’t be returning to the Senators.
What’s next for the Wings remains to be seen. Reports are circulating that Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner are not coming back to Detroit, which might give them the opportunity to go after Pavel Datsyuk’s close friend, Mikhail Grabovski.
Update #15: Niklas Kronwall spoke to Expressen's Jonathan Lindquist about the deal, describing Alfredsson as legendary.
Update #17: Henrik Zetterberg told Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman that he's absolutely delighted with the news.
Update #18: The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch offered reaction from Ottawa:
"It’s very disappointing,” said [Marc] Methot. “The biggest thing is it caught a lot of us off guard. We all were pretty adamant that he was going to return because he is grounded in this city and so well-loved that something would work out. He’s got the right to do what he wants to do. He has meant everything to this city. It’s just a really a tough situation because it’s happening in the middle of the summer. If it was happpening at the trade deadline and the team wasn’t doing so well, it’d be different. It’s something we have to deal with.”
The Senators aren’t just losing a player, they are losing a large presence in the dressing room.
“That’s a huge hole in terms of leadership because Alfie is so well respected and he’s been so good with all the Swedish players on our team that have looked up to him,” said Methot. “It’s sad. You’re going to see a lot of upset people but that’s the harsh reality of this game.”
Methot said he thinks the club is well-positioned to win.
“I like us for next year,” he said. “We’re a contender. All these experience with the young guys, great goaltending and a solid defence, I like us going into next year. It’s tough to understand it.”
Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips said he got a call from Alfredsson around 9 p.m. Thursday to give him the news that he was gone.
“I was a bit shocked to hear about it as anyone,” said Phillips from his Ottawa home. “He gave me a call and gave me a heads up on what was happening. That was the time that I was shocked. I had a bit of a heads up. I certainly respect what he did. He was up all night thinking about it. The main (reason) was he wants to go win. We didn’t get into it too deep. He had a lot of discussions with his wife Bibi and a lot of other people.”
Ditto for the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren:
“I’m shocked, like everybody else,” said right winger Chris Neil. “I thought he would be around and retire here, with his legacy, along with his family and all the stuff he does in the community.”
Neil says he was aware of the rumblings for the past few days and the possibility that Alfredsson could leave, but he still didn’t believe it would happen.
“Obviously, he had his reasons, but probably the only ones who know are him and his family. It’s unfortunate. He will be tough to replace. I’ve always said that Alfie is not the most vocal guy in the locker room, but he always led by example, always scoring that big goal or having that big shift or slowing the game down for a shift. You expect your captain back and it changes the whole make up of the locker room.”
It’s expected that centre Jason Spezza will inherit the captain’s role, but any such decision likely won’t be made until training camp. Defenceman Marc Methot echoed Neil’s thoughts, caught completely off guard by the news.
“It’s disappointing, we all love Alfie so much,” he said. “He’s such a great guy in the room. There’s a reason why we praise him all the time. I’m surprised, but Alfie does have the right to exercise his options. I still thought we had the best chance of (keeping) him.”
In response to the Alfredsson signing, Zetterberg told Sweden's Aftonbladet that, "this is fantastic. Alfie was the last Swede I expected to be playing with over here, it's really surprising, but I'm really loooking forward to having him as a teammate.
"We played together in the national team a couple of times, especially on the power play. I expect we'll be together on the PP in Detroit as well and he's gonna be a great addition there.
"I believe he's got a great chance of winning the cup with us. And if we do, there's no debate anymore on who I'll give the Cup to ..."
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