Daniel Alfredsson: Still Playing Strong

Today we conclude our four-part “Old Guys of the NHL series” featuring some of the oldest yet still powerful players:

1. Jaromir Jagr

2. Teemu Selanne

3. Martin Brodeur

and now Daniel Alfredsson.

Swedish forward Daniel Alfredsson was a lifer in Ottawa. Having played for the Senators since he was drafted in 1994, Alfie has been the face of the franchise through good and bad. As the Senators finished on a high note at the end of the 2012/13 season, defeating the Rangers in the first round and giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a run for their money, it was all but certain that the Captain (since 1999) would retire with the team after an victory-lap season. However, Alfredsson could not resist the call of the Stanley Cup, and much like Ray Boruque in 2000, he jumped ship to play for a team that he considered a contender; The Detroit Red Wings.

Sens fans were shocked and dismayed, but although it stung a little, they understood Alfredsson wasn’t going to the Motor City just for the 2015 Mustang Release. A Cup was the one major achievement that Alfredsson had not gained, and likely wouldn’t, despite all the progress the Senators had made in the last two seasons. Detroit has been a hot destination for those seeking the Cup, as Marian Hossa also left the 2008 runner-up Pittsburgh Penguins for the motor city, only to see his former teammates defeat his new team for Lord Stanley’s prize the following season.  Alfredsson won’t have to worry about seeing the Sens beat the Wings in the final, as they now share the Eastern Conference, but both teams are fighting to stay relevant in the playoff hunt this season, and could potentially meet in the postseason. The Sens are currently 3 points behind Detroit in the division, and both teams need to improve if they want to have a shot.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics may have been another motivating factor for Alfie to jump to the Red Wings, as they are already stocked with Swedes who will be on the Olympic Roster. While it’s not the Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal is nothing to scoff at. Alfredsson has one from 2006, but adding one more to the collection wouldn’t hurt, especially as Sweden attempts to lock its position in the world as a hockey superpower. Its U20 team was narrowly upset by rival Finland in the IIHF World Juniors this month, and the Swedes look to make an even bigger splash on the world scene in Sochi.

The fact remains, at 41 years old, Daniel Alfredsson still has the skills to not only compete at an NHL level, but to still be worth his contract. A great locker-room presence, Alfie has been a solid mentor to the younger players on his team, and his work ethic makes up for his lack of flashiness. Always a workhorse, Alfredsson isn’t often seen on the highlight reel, but still has managed to grind out 437 goals in just over 1,200 games played. Is this his last season? We’ll find out when it’s all said and done, but it would not be shocking if Alfie has one more left before he hangs up the skates.

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