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Alfredsson’s future remains uncertain with camp looming

Aug 27, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

Daniel Alfredsson Getty Images

One of the bigger X-factors surrounding the Detroit Red Wings is a player that isn’t even on their roster.

Daniel Alfredsson turned some heads last summer when the long-time Ottawa Senators captain decided to sign a one-year deal with Detroit. Although he was once a star player, the Red Wings were well aware that at the age of 40 (he turned 41 in December), he would be more of a complimentary forward.

In that role, Alfredsson performed largely as advertised, scoring 18 goals and 49 points in 68 games and helped the team squeak into the playoffs even as the Red Wings coped with a number of major injuries to key forwards.

Now an unrestricted free agent again, Alfredsson’s future with the team remains uncertain. He has some interest in returning to Detroit, but only if he feels he can contribute. With training camp just a few weeks away, it sounds like he still hasn’t found the answer he’s looking for.

“I haven’t talked to him in about a month,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. “He’s training hard. He’s training to play. He does want to play. When I last talked to him, he said he felt good — he wanted to feel great. He would love to play another year. He wants to play for us. He only wants to play if he feels he can contribute. The best test for him is to skate a couple weeks prior to training camp.

“I’ll talk to him next week. We’ll wait 10-12 days. Do we sign him to a contract? Does he just want to come to camp? I’m lobbing everything out there.”

Of course, it takes two sides to reach an agreement and even if Alfredsson wants to come back, it’s debatable whether or not the Red Wings should sign him. Alfredsson would provide the team with veteran leadership and additional scoring depth, which might prove particularly valuable if Detroit’s sickbay fills up again this season.

At the same time, he’ll be 42 before the campaign ends so it’s fair to wonder if he has enough left in the tank. Additionally, if they sign him, he will be taking ice time away from one of the Red Wings’ young players and that might slow their rebuilding efforts.

As Holland noted, it’s entirely possible that Alfredsson might join the Red Wings as a training camp invite to provide both sides with more time to evaluate the situation and decide what is in everyone’s best interests.

  1. PhillySN - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    Not to be picky but “slow their rebuilding efforts” should definitely be rephrased as it doesn’t accurately depict the teams situation, even though most of us can assume what you meant by it

  2. pwshrugged - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    I like Alfie, but sorry, there’s just no room for him. The Wings are already overloaded (again) at forward, and need that cap space to re-sign DeKeyser, who better be a priority WAY ahead of Alfredsson.

    • polegojim - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Disagree with you here PW. Alfie as a top performing VET last year. He still has plenty in the tank to perform as well or better than other Wingers. They’ll figure it out and take care of Danny.

      • pwshrugged - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        Only about $5M left in cap space. Unless Alfie takes a significant pay cut or a heavily incentivized contract, it’s hard to see them fitting both in.

        Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to see both. But if it’s one or the other… it’s DDK, no question.

      • polegojim - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:37 PM

        Agreed… if they HAVE to make a choice. They won’t.

        Remember when Paul Kariya played for 1mil on the Avs because Teemu told him the Avs were real Cup contenders? Is see something like that happening.

      • pwshrugged - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        I loved that Avs team. Yes, I know, Wings fan who has a soft spot for the Avs… it was such a great rivalry, though. And that Avs team was an awesome video game team – Sakic, Kariya, Selanne on a line together, with Foote and Blake behind them? Not to mention Forsberg, of course. Man, that was a good era of hockey, too.

        Anyway. Hopefully what you say happens. It’s well known that Babcock doesn’t want Alfie back as an everyday player, and I can see a ton of value in a part-time 40-year-old who still has a rocket of a right-handed shot, which we sorely need. If he takes a pay cut and plays sparingly enough to stay fresh, it’d work. I hope so.

        I just know that I want DDK signed. That kid has veteran poise and savvy already; he needs to be our top priority on defense until he retires or until he proves he can’t handle that responsibility. He’s as polished a young defenseman as I’ve ever seen.

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