If Daniel Alfredsson played his last season as the Ottawa Senators’ captain, he went out with plenty of dignity. Alf bounced back from a rough 2010-11 campaign to score 27 goals, 59 points and help his team make a surprise run to the playoffs.
Yet with one year left on a 35+ contract, his salary cap hit of $4.875 million will count whether he rides off into the retirement sunset or not. For that reason, former Columbus Blues Jackets GM Doug McLean believes that means Alfredsson “owes it” to Ottawa to finish out his contract.
“This is with all due respect to Alfredsson. I know what a great, character guy he has been and what a great leader he is,” said MacLean. “They’re sitting there wondering if he’s coming back and if he doesn’t, they have a $4.5-million cap hit. I just don’t know about that.
“In my opinion, he owes them another year and, unfortunately, (the Senators) have nothing to say about it. He can retire, I guess. Who knows? Maybe that’s the way the contract was structured.”
The thing is, if Alfredsson retires, the Senators wouldn’t have to pay him the $1 million salary his contract requires in 2012-13. Instead, it would be dead cap space – as if they bought him out.
That would be a huge deal for a team like, say, the Chicago Blackhawks. Even after a surprisingly successful season, the Senators aren’t likely to spend to whatever the salary cap is next season, so the franchise might actually benefit from Alfredsson retiring to some extent. There’s also the possibility that the next Collective Bargaining Agreement might relax some of the rules with 35+ contracts, making the concern more of a moot point.
In other words, it probably wouldn’t be ideal for Alfredsson to retire, but the Senators have no reason to frown upon that decision either.