The Detroit Red Wings have one of the most brutal schedules over the next two months. A current bubble team playing uninspiring hockey, there is a real chance they will be out of the mix come the trade deadline.
Should this be the case Detroit would be, for the first time in a quarter century, sellers at the trade deadline. And Daniel Alfredsson might be their most attractive rental player. At the same time, there's a chance Ottawa would be in position to be a buyer, and given how little salary is left after the trade deadline, contract value should not be a significant object. Is there a chance of the Alfie returning to Ottawa for a final playoff run?
There are some things that would make this an incredibly difficult trade. The first is simply the personalities involved. Alfredsson not signing with Ottawa was terribly painful, and led to some heated exchanges in the media. Alfie obviously felt like Ottawa management was not giving him the respect he was due, and Ottawa management felt a sense of betrayal in Alfie signing elsewhere for a contract they were (supposedly) willing to match. Ottawa would presumably have to give something up for this trade to happen, which, in the mind of those who think that Ottawa is entitled to Alfie, would add insult to injury.
On the other hand, Alfie has a no-movement clause. He gets to pick where he goes. Though his ideal destination would likely be a cup contender, few of them are on pace to have room for his contract as of trade deadline. Montreal is the only non-bubble team that could afford to sign Daniel Alfredsson without subtracting a roster player, and with Montreal's previous playoff history (Pageau! Pageau Pageau Pageau! Pageau!) I'm not positive they would be a prime destination for someone looking to take home hardware at the end of their career. If Ottawa continues playing as they have been lately, they'll have as good of a chance as anyone who actually has the cap space.
If Detroit is out of it come deadline day, and Ottawa is looking good, all that would really be needed for Aflie's return would be his desire to, and Ottawa's desire to have him.