Daniel Alfredsson came into the 2011-12 season with a ton of question marks surrounding him. After the disappointment of the previous season, that was cut short by a back injury that required surgery, what Daniel Alfredsson would show up? Would he be able to make a complete recovery and return to, or at least close to, the form that he had been playing up to in previous season? With a rebuilding team, would Alfie just play out the final years of his career, and if the Senators were out of the running for a playoff spot, would he ask to be traded to a contender for a shot at the Cup?
Well, many of those questions were answered early on, as he notched 3 points in his first two games, although the team got off to a shaky start. But behind his leadership, the Senators surprised many people around the league and fought their way into the playoffs. The questions now turn to whether or not he will return for another season, and the decision should be made in the coming weeks.
Alfredsson had many great moments in the 2011-12 season. He bounced back from career lows in points to put up very respectable numbers while anchoring the second line for the most part. His overtime goal against Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames on December 30th was the milestone 400th goal of his NHL Career. He went on to add three more game winners, including 2 in the last 2 weeks of the season to solidify a playoff spot for the upstart Senators.
Daniel Alfredsson was voted in as a starter for the NHL All-Star Game hosted in Ottawa in January. He was named a captain and was close to being named the MVP of the game. He served as the de-facto host and face of the event around the league. However his team fell short and lost the game to former team-mate Zdeno Chara’s team, not that it matters.
Alfie is a finalist for the NHL’s Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game of hockey and the winner will be announced at the NHL awards on June 20th.
For all of his success on the ice, two scary incidents almost derailed his career. Early on, an errant elbow from the Rangers’ Wojtek Wolski sidelined the captain with a concussion. Although Alfie missed almost two weeks of action, the team rallied around the hit and mounted a tremendous comeback to win the game. Then in the playoffs, Alfredsson suffered another concussion, again courtesy the Rangers, this time Carl Hagelin and his elbow delivered the knock-out blow.
Alfredsson finished with 75 games played, notched 27 goals, 32 assists and 59 points. His goal total was good enough for 41st in the league and his point total was 59th.
Given the expectations and the role Alfredsson was expected to play, in my book, the final grade for Daniel Alfredsson in the 2011-12 season is: