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Sens owner: We couldn’t meet Alfredsson’s demands

Aug 10, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT

Daniel Alfredsson AP

It’s Anaheim Ducks day on PHT, so it seems appropriate to talk about Daniel Alfredsson.

That link might sound like a stretch, given that Alfredsson never has and almost certainly never will play for the Ducks. But if you thought Alfredsson’s departure and Ottawa’s acquisition of Bobby Ryan from the Ducks were two unrelated events, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk recently suggested otherwise.

Melnyk told the Ottawa Citizen that Alfredsson came to the Senators with both salary demands and desire for Ottawa to add more talent.

“You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’” Melnyk said.

With that in mind, Melnyk informed Senators GM Bryan Murray that the team would not agree to Alfredsson’s contract demands and also promise to acquire new players. It sounds like the choice was Alfredsson’s and the team would have given him a “blank cheque” if he would accept the impact that would have on the Senators’ summer plans.

“To come up with the kind of money they were talking about and being fiscally responsible and ensuring the ongoing success of the organization, we knew we needed to add a Bobby Ryan-type player,” Melnyk explained. “And at the end, when I said blank cheque, that would have meant we would not have gotten the (Bobby Ryan-type player). Couldn’t afford it. Just couldn’t do it.”

Alfredsson responded by signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings that comes with a base salary of $3.5 million and could balloon to $5.5 million if he meets the requirements for his bonuses. He made it clear that his decision to leave Ottawa reflects his desire to win the Stanley Cup.

The Senators then responded with the Bobby Ryan trade that sent Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a 2014 first-round pick to Anaheim.

It’s worth adding that Ottawa is operating well below the salary cap, so from that perspective they could have easily handled both Alfredsson’s contract and Ryan’s. However, Melnyk insists that it is necessary for the team to maintain a budget of around $50 million as opposed to the $64.3 million cap hit.

“We’re not the New York Rangers, we’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I’m trying to keep ticket prices reasonable, because there’s a very delicate balance between ticket pricing, attendance and being able to put a competitive team (on the ice).”

They’re also not like the Detroit Red Wings, it seems, which have spent to the cap for the 2013-14 campaign.

  1. zetaone - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Sens fans can correct me if I’m wrong but.. The Senators have 11 mil in cap space to spend this coming season, with no notable players needing to be signed this year.

    Why exactly couldn’t he have signed Alfredsson AND Bobby Ryan? Seems like this isn’t the whole truth.

    • zetaone - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Oh never mind, I finished the last few paragraphs. He’s just greedy is all.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        He may be greedy but if I’m not mistaken his finances are also a mess right now. So that’s why they need an internal budget.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 11, 2013 at 7:21 AM

        Peeps shouldn’t forget it was Eugene who spent to the cap and invested in the team once he took over and made this one of the best organization in the league for picking and developing alone doesn’t bring organizational success.just compare the number of playoff round won, number of post season games played, and elite talent on Ottawa against the other team in isn’t close.the Sens are better run and managed over the tenure of Melnyk.

        He is allowed as the owner to manage his business affairs any way he chooses which includes the Sens.despite his financial situation he has a solid team on the ice.

  2. nygdriveforfive - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Melynk is in the process of pretending to be bankrupt. Alfie simply asked Melynk to delay pretending to be bankrupt and guarantee him that Sens won’t sell of salary mid season. Melynk clearly is more interested in blaming the Senators for his (alleged) financial woes, then in competing for the cup. Can’t blame alfie for leaving and going to an owner that will guarantee him a drama free, guaranteed no sell off season.

    • c9castine - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      thats BS. the pens aren’t new york or toronto or whoever either but they somehow spend to the cap every year and because they put the best product possibile on the ice lead the league in tv ratings and merch sales and are leaders in attendance and have sold out 300 straight games. what a cheap copout by melnyk. hes why the senators suck. let your gm run your team.

      • chuvalo - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        Give me a break! If it wasn’t for Mario the Pens would have been long gone.

  3. nygdriveforfive - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Melynk knows that whatever he says publicly, Alfie is way to classy to ever dispute it. So in summary fellow Sens fans, Our owner has lost a crap load of money in his other business interests and is saying that it’s the Sens that are sucking him dry. Thank you Eugene for driving our captain straight to the Wings.

  4. nygdriveforfive - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Melynk is quoted in an article from 1 year ago as saying the Sens are turning a profit now. Sucessful season on and off the ice with pkayoff revenue this year…What changed Eugene? I will tell you. His pharmaceutical company way underperformed and he figured he better cut back on his hobby of owning a team. I’m ok with that. Do not lie to me and tell me the Sens are causing you to go bankrupt. And for God’s sake do not publicly lay blame on the face of the franchise for leaving. Man, alot can change in a year if your name is Eugene Melynk.

  5. thesportsjudge - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    It sounds like the owner didn’t want to pay Alfredsson very much money at all. My guess is he thought DA would rather give a huge hometown discount, you know, with the cap going down and all, than possibly tarnish his image by leaving the only team he played for and looking like a mercenary(which I don’t think of DA in that light at all).

  6. nygdriveforfive - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    The worst part about this is that their is a significant amount of Sens fans that are buying Eugene’s garbage and are turning on Alfie. 17 years of service and community involvement and these people turn like that! Sad, just sad.

  7. mlblogsbufnyfan - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Alfredsson had reached his “best beyond date” anyway–time for Ottawa to move on!!

  8. canadianguest - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I’m in the, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” crowd here in Ottawa, regarding Alfredsson, and I have remarked that Detroit just paid 5.5 mil for 18 goals. The truth is, Alfreddson is still an above average player because he’s a complete player. He’s excellent on the PP, the PK, 5V5, scoring lines, checking lines, complete player. He may get 20 goals, maybe even 25-30, but whatever his point totals finish at, it’s only one part of his contribution.

  9. terrier92 - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Sens fans deserve better than this guy

  10. succulentnipples - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    This guy needs some Falafel.

  11. hockeyflow33 - Aug 10, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Didn’t they tell us at the time of the trade that it was going down regardless of Alfredsson’s decision?

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      It had to have been, trades don’t happen in one day. They would have been talking about it for a while.

    • tmoore4075 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading this. Murray said the Ryan trade was not a reaction to Alfie leaving but now Melnyk is saying if they signed Alfie to what he wanted they couldn’t have traded for Ryan. So someone is lying to save face and I’m guessing it’s Melnyk since as the comment below states, these kind of trades don’t develop in a couple of hours.

  12. sharksfan97 - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Sens fans deserve better than this owner. You guys draft well, develop well and have an excellent fan base. It seems the one hurdle preventing this org from becoming elite is its whiney, cheap owner.

  13. keepitstiff - Aug 11, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    alfie will get to play with all star talent on the pp and weiss and mule even strength. i would take that over running the show for an owner who cant even hit the cap. good for him for trying to end his career on a high note. sens are close, but it was time to go when youre pushing 40 and mr illich wants another cup and employs half the swedish olympic team. good on alfie for being his own man and hopefully making the right decision.

  14. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Hate how some GMs feel the need to throw players under the bus to justify the moves they make. Ottawa trying to make Alfy look greedy. Bruins trying to label Seguin a party animal. Just be honest, Alfy wanted a chance to win a cup, Boston couldn’t afford Seguin when they needed to sign Bergeron and overpay Rask long term.

    As for Ottawa, the could have and probably would have paid Alfy the same amount as Detroit, but Alfy wanted to win a cup in his last year. He feels Detroit give him the best chance… at least a better chance than Ottawa. At least he didn’t jerk the sens around for a couple years before doing it, like Sundin did in Toronto.

  15. dprouse - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    There is plenty of blame to go around here. Did the Sens mishandle these negotiations? Absolutely. At the same time, though, barely 48 hours passed between Alfie confirming he was coming back to play, and the start of the free agency contact period. There was very little contact between the Sens and J.P. Barry, and what little there was seemed very stilted and awkward. A cynic might assume that Alfie already had a verbal offer in hand from the Red Wings, and sent his agent back to see if Ottawa would clearly beat it. When they didn’t, he walked. He was obviously already thinking about moving on, and the team wasn’t prepared to sign a blank cheque, legend or not. Both sides will blame the other, but this looks like a mutual parting of the ways to me…

  16. irvin12589 - Aug 12, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Sign with a consistent playoff team that always competes and has a talent filled roster or sign with the toss up team? I think Alfie picked the right side here. He has a much better shot at a Cup with Detroit then he does Ottawa. His signing with Ottawa would be like Iginla rejecting Boston at the trade deadline to go to Pittsburgh….OOOOOPPPPSS

  17. cha1upabatman - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Perhaps those clamoring for another Canadian team can take this as a hint. Here you have an established team, in the capital city, with terrific fan support…. and they can’t afford to spend to the salary cap. Putting a team in Hamilton, or a second in Toronto makes about as much sense (financially) as throwing a team in Orlando. Florida needs three hockey teams, right?

    • channelguy - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Ottawa’s problems right now have nothing to do with the city, fan support, or even the fact that the arena is as far out into the distant suburbs as the Glendale arena is from Phoenix. It’s the fact already posted here by some that the owner, after many years of solid backing of the team, has run into financial problems in his main business, and is drawing money from the team to help cover those losses. This was reported several months ago and the fact that Melnyk hasn’t sued does tend to confirm the reports are true.

      So Ottawa’s problems are closer to New Jersey’s — ownership with financial issues. What isn’t clear yet in Ottawa is whether Melnyk can recover from his problems, and if so, how long that will take.

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