As the countdown to Daniel Alfredsson‘s second big decision in less than a week, the doubt, however small it may be, has to start to grow over his returning to the Senators.
There are two big questions at play:
1. Why would an opposing team outbid the Senators?
The potential for money problems aside, Daniel Alfredsson isn’t worth the numbers being bantied around. Don’t get me wrong in that statement. He is worth every penny he gets in Ottawa, and then some. But if you figure he signs, for arguement’s sake, a $5M contract to stay in Ottawa for 1 year. He is not a $5M player any more. It would essentially be $3-$3.5M for his on-ice and leadership, and an extra $1.5-$2M for “goodwill” and being the face of the franchise and an icon in the city.
If Boston (since that is the popular example today) were to come in and offer the Sens’ captain $6 or more, they would be getting the first part. And like it or not, Alfredsson can no longer deliver at the level that would be expected of a $6M player. He is no longer the top line player he was 5 years ago, he is more of a complementary performer on the ice at this point. His value to the Senators lies more in the perception and the “goodwill” than goals and assists.
2. What Is the Value Of Alfredsson’s Legacy?
Alfredsson has had his chances to get out from the Senators if he wanted to chase a cup. The last three seasons have provided the opportunity for Alfie to walk into Bryan Murray’s office and say, “I want to play for a contender” and Murray would have grudgingly obliged. I think he takes pride in having played for one organization for his entire career and wants to keep it that way. The legacy he leaves in the city of Ottawa would be tainted if he went elsewhere to chase a winner. That has to hold some value to Alfredsson that dollars cannot measure.
I am not saying that Melnyk should hand over a blank cheque for his services next year, but anything within reason shouldn’t bat an eyelash.
IF Ottawa were to lose Alfredsson to another team, the loss in terms of revenues, public relations and fan backlash would far exceed whatever he was asking to get paid this season.
And if Alfredsson thinks the Senators owe him a little more than market value, he is right. Some statements have been made that it has only been a few days and that contracts take time. In most cases, that is right, but in this case it never should have gotten to the point where he could field calls from other teams.
This has been handled terribly by the Senators front office, whether it be Melnyk or Murray. It is a staring contest that the Senators cannot win, unless Alfredsson wants to let them.
Either way, it makes absolutely no sense from either side for Alfredsson to not be in a Senators jersey next season.