There cannot be a single Senators fan out there who was not elated at this news:
Daniel Alfredsson, the greatest Swedish player to ever have captained an Ontario based NHL team is back for the final year of his contract.
There was some speculation about an extension with substantial bonus structure to increase his income for the 2012/2013 season well beyond the scheduled $1M (at a cap hit of $4.875M).
Courtesy of Alan Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen, Alfie had this to say of the following season:
"I’m not saying this is my last year," he said. "If I can still play and contribute, I’ll continue."
Asked about the contract that disappears at midnight, July 1, 2013 he said: "It’s a non-issue for me, [...] I’m good with the way the contract is. [...] I’ll just play out the last year of the contract and go from there."
We know Alfie is very loyal, but there is one scenario that could see him win a Cup with another team, but retire after playing his last game in a Sens jersey. Imagine, if you can, this situation: at the trade deadline the Senators do not appear to be reasonably within reach of a playoff position. Alfie has previously stated he would be open to a trade to a Cup contender if the Senators had no chance of making the post season. Without an extension, Alfie could be traded for very strong assets. Without an extension, Alfie could play out the season and the playoffs and then sign a one year, high-dollar UFA contract with the Ottawa Senators for 2013/2014.
Now consider the above with a contract extension. Unless the CBA has some loophole which makes a trade valid only for the contract in effect at the time of the trade (I doubt one exists), an extension would lock Alfie in with the next team for the duration thereof.
While Alfie's character would indicate he truly does want to honour the entirety of the current contract in good faith and is unconcerned with the financial reward a new contract would provide, one might consider this a wise hockey decision that gives Alfredsson and the Senators organisation several attractive options come February.