Fanspeak: Alfredsson voted greatest Senator in franchise history

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This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Ottawa Senators

1. Daniel Alfredsson (631)

2. Jason Spezza (132)

3. Alexei Yashin (128)

4. Dany Heatley (97)

5. Marian Hossa (67)

Whether the 2013-14 season was his last or he decides/is allowed to give it one more go, it doesn’t sound like Daniel Alfredsson’s last NHL games will come in an Ottawa Senators uniform. That certainly stings for Senators fans, yet at the same time, it’s clear that “Alf” has accomplished more than anyone else in franchise history.

Actually, it’s not even all that close.

Alfredsson set franchise records – by far – in stats ranging from goals (426), assists (682), points (1,108) and games played (1,178). Chris Phillips will probably catch him in that last category (he’s already at 1,143 games), but no one’s within breathing distance of those other numbers.

Of course, the talented Swede did more than just score.

He was a huge part of some very strong teams that dazzled the Eastern Conference in deep playoff runs, including a run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final (even if that loss to the Anaheim Ducks wasn’t particularly pretty). Alfredsson was known for his all-around play as the franchise saw other talents come and go.

Sure, it’s a shame that he ever left, especially since it delivered a blow to what Silver Seven Sens described as the Alfredsson “mythology” while discussing his return to town last season:

The Alfie legend is certainly part of the mythologizing tendency fans still exhibit when talking about their favourite games and favourite players. I’m guilty of it myself. Collectively, Sens fans were guilty of it the past several years. We talked about Alfie as if he had always been universally loved by Sens fans and as if he would march unquestioning ever forth for the organization. In reality, neither belief was true. For much of his first decade with the team, Alfredsson was a favourite scape-goat. This only increased after the departure of super-villain Yashin. Rather than draw support to Alfredsson, the captain’s C initially proved to be a lightning rod for criticism. He was injured too often, he was too soft, and he was too European. His strong performance in 2006-2007 changed that in the minds of many.

Ultimately, he leaves behind the kind of numbers and memories that speak for themselves.