The Ottawa Senators have selected Erik Karlsson as the team’s captain. They’re hoping that this will bring an end to a period of drama surrounding the position.
Daniel Alfredsson reign as the captain spanned parts of three decades, but rather than spend his entire career with Ottawa as was widely anticipated, he chose to sign with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2013-14 campaign. Ottawa handed the ‘C’ to Jason Spezza in a move that seemed logical at the time. Spezza had spent his entire career to that point with Ottawa, but he didn’t even last a full year as the captain before he demanded a trade.
Taken with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Karlsson has quickly established himself as one of the best offensive defensemen in the game. He won the Norris Trophy in 2012 and has two 70-plus point seasons under his belt. He’s also a workhorse, averaging 27:04 minutes per game while playing in all 82 contests last season.
Karlsson is already signed through 2018-19, so the Senators have reason to believe they won’t have to go through the process of naming another captain any time soon.
The Ottawa Senators have announced that Bobby Ryan has agreed to a seven-year contract extension. It is worth $50.75 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
That’s a big commitment to Ryan, especially seeing as he’s coming off of a rough season where he was bothered by a sports hernia and finished with 23 goals and 48 points in 70 games. At the same time, it’s a bold statement from Ottawa after some very public embarrassments over the past couple of years.
Long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson did the unthinkable in the summer of 2013 when he decided to leave Ottawa to sign with Detroit. What made that worse for the Senators was his claim that it was money that ultimately drove him away. They made Jason Spezza the new captain, but he demanded a trade and was shipped to Dallas in July.
Had they let Ryan walk as an unrestricted free agent, it would have continued the storyline of Ottawa’s inability to keep top-tier forwards on the roster. This contract will start in 2015-16 when Ryan is 28 years old and he will likely have the highest cap hit on the team at that point.
Despite tweaking his back, Daniel Alfredsson has been skating intermittently over the last two weeks (today included) to see if he can play one more season with the Detroit Red Wings. Fellow Swede and teammate Henrik Zetterberg told the Red Wings website that this is a crucial time as far as that decision-making process goes.
“Says he feels better and I think this week will be an important week, and hopefully he will be with us next week,” Zetterberg said. “I think it was a wise decision for him to really take the time now and do his rehab and really give it a last shot. Hopefully it will work.”
(Zetterberg, 33, sounded optimistic regarding his own back issues, which really flared up during the 2014 Winter Olympics.)
While this is obviously an important time for Alfredsson, 41, it sounds like the Red Wings aren’t putting an ultimatum on making a final choice regarding playing or retiring this week. MLive.com notes that GM Ken Holland is OK with with waiting “well into the season” for a decision, if needed.
Alfredsson’s last contract included a base salary of $3.5 million with $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The Red Wings have about $3.08 million in cap space at this moment (via Cap Geek), so it seems likely that Alfredsson would need to take a smaller deal if he’s healthy enough to play in 2014-15.
Alfredsson scored 49 points in 68 games with Detroit in 2013-14, tying Niklas Kronwall for the team scoring lead, so it’s easy to see why the Red Wings are willing to work through the veteran forward’s situation.