This year was supposed to play out so differently for Daniel Alfredsson, the classy captain of the Ottawa Senators.
A surprise playoff berth last season was supposed to be followed up by a deeper postseason run this season.
While that might still happen, the odds are longer in the wake of long-term injuries to Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and star center Jason Spezza, and let’s not forget top-four blueliner Jared Cowen, whose NHL season was over before it started thanks to hip surgery.
I certainly wouldn’t write off the Senators. As they showed in beating the Devils in New Jersey on Monday and the Islanders at home on Tuesday, there’s a scrappy heart still beating on that team, and it’s led by its 40-year-old captain.
But in the event the injury-riddled club can’t overcome its massive loss of talent, it certainly raises the the question: What lies in Alfredsson’s future?
I can think of several contenders that would love to add him to the mix. Could Alfredsson be enticed to leave his one and only NHL club to take a shot at a first-ever Stanley Cup?
One team that I believe will show serious interest in Alfredsson, if and when the time is right, is the powerhouse Boston Bruins. With the trade of Tim Thomas’ contract, the B’s have lots of cap room to add pieces before the April 3 trade deadline.
The connections, of course, are obvious: GM Peter Chiarelli used to work in Ottawa’s front office and B’s captain Zdeno Chara is a former teammate of Alfredsson's. If there’s one team that could entice Alfredsson, I’m not sure there’s a better fit than Boston.
Know this: I don’t believe Senators GM Bryan Murray has any desire whatsoever to move Alfredsson, even if his team is out of it by April 3. There’s too much respect for what Alfredsson has done for that franchise to even care about what he could bring back asset-wise. Having said that, you can bet that if -- sorry, make that when -- contenders come calling with offers, Murray would likely at least make Alfredsson aware of them and basically let him decide. As it should be, this will be Alfredsson’s call.
Can Bruins lure Alfredsson away?
ESPN.com | Feb 20