With 49 points in 68 games, Daniel Alfredsson tied Niklas Kronwall for the Detroit Red Wings’ team lead and appears pretty eager to play another season. On the other hand, he’s 42, presenting plenty of questions about how much longer he can be a valuable contributor.
It sounds like the Red Wings aren’t ready to answer that question just yet. GM Ken Holland told TSN 1020 that the decision won’t be made until September and even told Ian Mendes that a training camp tryout isn’t out of the question. Holland sounded unconvinced either way, noting that Alfredsson plans on staying in Detroit with his family in the interim.
Holland cites the team’s significant uncertainty regarding injuries as a factor in the situation.
(Kukla’s Korner’s George Malik found the audio, with the Alfredsson discussion kicking in around the eight-minute mark, if you want to hear more.)
It’s probably fair to say that the biggest argument against bringing back Alfredsson revolves around age, or at least the idea that he might take opportunities from players who are in the meat of their prime years. Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar had a big impact on the team’s surge to a playoff spot amid injuries to a wide array of players, yet Winging It in Motown points out that Alfredsson received heavy usage on the power play; would those minutes provide valuable opportunities to Tatar, Nyquist or even Anthony Mantha?
Training camp could indeed provide a valuable opportunity to make such an assessment, even if doesn’t really provide a big window of observation. There are some solid arguments for both sides of the equation, so it’s easy to see why the Red Wings aren’t making that call just yet.
It’s looking more and more like Daniel Alfredsson will be returning to the Detroit Red Wings next season.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Ansar Khan of Mlive.com and gave his thoughts on what they’re looking at regarding the 41-year-old Swede. It sounds like a new contract is coming Alfie’s way.
“My take is we’re probably going to try to do something with Alfie,” Holland said Monday. “He had a good year, 19 goals. When he was healthy, he was valuable.”
Alfredsson, along with Niklas Kronwall, were the Wings’ leading scorers last season. The part about “when he was healthy” is key as Holland said he doesn’t expect him to play all 82 games. He pointed to the bevy of young forwards the team has to help pick up the slack. If that’s the case, he’s got a lot of backup support.
Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Luke Glendening, and Riley Sheahan all played key roles for the team down the stretch while veterans like Alfredsson, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg all dealt with injuries throughout the season.
Having a copious amount of quality depth like that comes in handy for situations like this with older players you know will need rest.
These are uncertain times for the Ottawa Senators. After making the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns, the Senators struggled without Daniel Alfredsson in 2013-14 and failed to earn a postseason berth. Then Jason Spezza demanded a trade and the Senators consequently lost their captain for the second time in two years.
Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch thinks that the Senators can remain competitive, but in order to do that they will have to return to the style that made them successful in the first place.
“I think first and foremost we’ve got to get back to playing hard,” Wiercioch told the Ottawa Sun. “We don’t want our fans to think that certain nights we’ve given up or anything. I think a couple of years ago we had that pesky mentality, and it almost rallied us in games we weren’t supposed to be in, it kept us in them. I think that’s the identify we’ve just got to try and form early on, and not wait so late in the season.”
As is the case with the team, the future is uncertain for Wiercioch. The 23-year-old offensive defenseman has a lot of potential, but he was a healthy scratch 29 times in 2013-14. The Senators have seven defensemen signed to one-way contracts, not including Cody Ceci, so it’s possible that he could be traded before the season starts.
Wiercioch acknowledged as much, although he certainly hopes that Ottawa will decide to keep him. For now though, all he can do is get ready for 2014-15 with the mindset that he will be part of the Senators’ attempt to bounce back.