When Daniel Alfredsson announced he'd be holding a press conference to thank the city of Ottawa, I never thought for a moment anything of substance would come out of it.
I was wrong.
In his press conference, Alfredsson explained that his previous contract (four years, $19.5M with a final year worth $1M) was signed with the understanding that he might not end up playing that last season. He was "asked to help the team manage the salary cap" by adding that extra year on, which would bring down the AAV on the deal, and he did. "Each side fully expected [Alfredsson] would retire and not play the 2012-13 season," he explained. Although it seems unlikely that this will lead to cap circumvention charges, it seems possible, but one thing is certain as a result: Alfredsson made a deal that favoured the Senators for the sake of the organization.
Alfredsson also revealed that last summer, once he had decided he wanted to play another year of hockey, he discussed the possibility of signing an extension that would at least partially offset the discounted $1M salary he played for in the 2013 season. That extra year, as he said, was requested by the team; his follow-up request last summer was to sign a deal that would compensate for it. Alfredsson said that the discussion "didn't really go anywhere" last summer, but the two sides resolved to talk about it again this summer--which they did, but not sufficiently. Offers made by the Senators didn't satisfy Alfredsson's demand to compensate him for his discounted money last year, so he explored his other options and found that there were attractive ones outside of Ottawa.
Finally, Alfie also said that he wishes he could "take back" the comments he made on July 5 suggesting that the Detroit Red Wings had a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup than the Senators. As his press conference today would indicate, this was far more than a purely "selfish decision" on Alfie's part, and it had far more behind it than simple short-term success and Stanley Cup ambitions.
When the signing was announced, I speculated that there was surely something more to it than what Alfredsson was saying. It turns out that there was, and Alfredsson was less than pleased with the reception he received when looking to get paid what he'd earned from the Senators. Ottawa management seemed certain that he'd never actually entertain other options, and Alfredsson called their bluff. As a result, the Senators poisoned their relationship with the face of the franchise and chased their captain and all-time leader in every worthwhile category out of town.
Daniel Alfredsson comes out of this whole thing looking fairly respectable, at least in my mind. The Senators organization has egg on their face today.
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