Sens owner: We couldn’t meet Alfredsson’s demands

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It’s Anaheim Ducks day on PHT, so it seems appropriate to talk about Daniel Alfredsson.

That link might sound like a stretch, given that Alfredsson never has and almost certainly never will play for the Ducks. But if you thought Alfredsson’s departure and Ottawa’s acquisition of Bobby Ryan from the Ducks were two unrelated events, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk recently suggested otherwise.

Melnyk told the Ottawa Citizen that Alfredsson came to the Senators with both salary demands and desire for Ottawa to add more talent.

“You can’t have it both ways and say, ‘Well I want this for me, but I want you to do this with me and the team.’ It’s ‘which one do you want?’” Melnyk said.

With that in mind, Melnyk informed Senators GM Bryan Murray that the team would not agree to Alfredsson’s contract demands and also promise to acquire new players. It sounds like the choice was Alfredsson’s and the team would have given him a “blank cheque” if he would accept the impact that would have on the Senators’ summer plans.

“To come up with the kind of money they were talking about and being fiscally responsible and ensuring the ongoing success of the organization, we knew we needed to add a Bobby Ryan-type player,” Melnyk explained. “And at the end, when I said blank cheque, that would have meant we would not have gotten the (Bobby Ryan-type player). Couldn’t afford it. Just couldn’t do it.”

Alfredsson responded by signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings that comes with a base salary of $3.5 million and could balloon to $5.5 million if he meets the requirements for his bonuses. He made it clear that his decision to leave Ottawa reflects his desire to win the Stanley Cup.

The Senators then responded with the Bobby Ryan trade that sent Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a 2014 first-round pick to Anaheim.

It’s worth adding that Ottawa is operating well below the salary cap, so from that perspective they could have easily handled both Alfredsson’s contract and Ryan’s. However, Melnyk insists that it is necessary for the team to maintain a budget of around $50 million as opposed to the $64.3 million cap hit.

“We’re not the New York Rangers, we’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I’m trying to keep ticket prices reasonable, because there’s a very delicate balance between ticket pricing, attendance and being able to put a competitive team (on the ice).”

They’re also not like the Detroit Red Wings, it seems, which have spent to the cap for the 2013-14 campaign.