Daniel Alfredsson

Report: Alfredsson working out in Sweden, contract discussions ongoing


Some big developments on the Daniel Alfredsson front, courtesy Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

The good news is the Sun has confirmed the Senators captain is working out near his home in Gotenburg, Sweden as discussions between GM Bryan Murray and agent J.P. Barry continue to get a one-year extension in place.

The 39-year-old Alfredsson hasn’t made a final decision on whether he’s going to play next season, but it’s fair to say it’s looking good and it shouldn’t be much longer before he announces whether he’ll return or retire.

Just the fact Alfredsson is in the gym is a positive sign for the franchise and its fans. He told the Sun last season he had to make sure “the fire still burned” to do the off-season workouts required to get ready to play.

Alfredsson has served as Ottawa’s captain since 1999 and shown little signs of decline. He scored 27 goals last year — his highest total since potting 40 in 2007-08 — and appeared in 75 games, averaging 19 minutes per night.

The key point now, it seems, is how long he’ll play for. Alfredsson’s signed for 2012-13 with a $4.875 million cap hit, but his actual salary is only $1 million.

Given Ottawa’s turnaround, last year’s surprise playoff berth, a stellar crop of young Sens prospects and the league’s newfound approach to signing older players (see: Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne) it stands to reason Alfredsson could play multiple years, not just one.


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Offseason Report: Ottawa Senators

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
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The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”