Fans looking for an answer why former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson left their team to join the Detroit Red Wings now have their answer: Money.

At a press conference in Ottawa Thursday Alfredsson revealed he and the Senators structured his last contract under the assumption that he would retire before playing the last year for $1 million. That brought the average annual value of the deal down to $4.8 million from the around $6.1 million it would have otherwise been.

“When I did my last contract for four years ending in the (2012-13) season I was asked to help the team manage the salary cap by adding on a extra year to my contract. I agreed. Each side fully expected I would retire and not play the 2012-13 season” he said in the gymnasium at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

“However after the 2012 season I told the Sens I wanted to play another season. I also asked to look at a possible extension this upcoming season at a fair amount to balance out the two years for both of us. They agreed.

“Sadly the contract negotiations went nowhere but I played out the season as I had promised and I believe this past season in my view was a very special one.”

Alfredsson went on to describe how initial talks this summer didn’t go well which opened the door for the Detroit Red Wings to make a pitch. After discussing it with wife Bibi who was on hand Thursday and their four children they decided it was an “adventure” they wanted to pursue.

“In late June this year I decided I had it in me to play one more season” he explained. “I told management I was willing to return and I reminded them of our agreement from the year before.”

The negotiations “quickly stalled” he said and a few days later the Detroit Red Wings came calling.

Alfredsson said he had friends who played in the motor city and knew the team well — including its need for a right-handed shot.

“I was also delighted by their enthusiasm and by their belief in how they saw me fitting into their plans. So that call opened my eyes to a possibility I had never thought of — to play another year maybe even two with another great team.”

Alfredsson’s press conference put an exclamation point on the story of how he left which was slowly leaking out via interviews with Bryan Murray and Eugene Melnyk.

Murray told the press on July 5 – the day Alfredsson signed with Detroit — that he and J.P. Barry Alfredsson’s agent had traded numbers earlier in the week. It’s believed the Senators offered Alfredsson around $4 million with Alfredsson’s camp coming in closer to $6-6.5 million. Murray said he didn’t hear from Barry or Alfredsson until the weekend when the captain called to give the general manager some bad news: He was leaving.