Senators by the Numbers: #11
Today's post focuses on #11. While every Sens fan knows of Daniel Alfredsson's exploits, many don't realize he was not the first Senator to wear #11 for the modern team. In fact, three players wore #11 before Alfie joined the Sens in 1995 - can you name them?
Mark Freer C 1992-1993
A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Freer would excel in the OHL for his hometown Petes. Undrafted, he was signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Flyers. After three seasons playing for the AHL's Hershey Bears, Freer spent more than half of the 1991-92 season with the Flyers. Left unprotected in the Expansion Draft, Freer was claimed by the Senators and was part of the inaugural season. Freer spent just one season with the Senators before signing with the Calgary Flames for the 1993-1994 season. He played only two games with the Flames and spent the rest of his professional career in the IHL and AHL, adding a bronze medal at the 1995 World Championship while representing Canada.
Jarmo Kekalainen LW 1993-1994
Born in Finland, Kekalainen was an undrafted free agent when he signed with the Boston Bruins in 1989. Jarmo played parts of two seasons with the Bruins before returning to Finland for two years. Returning to North America for the 1993-94 season, Kekalainen signed with the Sens in August, 1993. Playing just 28 games for the Senators, he would play in Sweden after leaving the Sens and retired in 1995. Immediately after retiring as a player, Kekalainen began his management career. Serving as the GM of IFK Helsinki from 1995-99, he also worked in hockey operations for the Senators during that time. He left IFK Helsinki in 1999 for a posting with the Sens as Director of Player Personnel, which he held until 2002. In 2002, Kekalainen became the Assistant GM and Director of Amateur Scouting for the St. Louis Blues. Jarmo is currently the GM of Jokerit, in the SM-liiga.
Evgeny Davydov LW 1993-1994, 1994-1995
Drafted 235th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 1989, Davydov played for the Jets, Panthers, and Senators during his short NHL career. A member of the Soviet Union's 1987 World Junior team, Davydov played a critical role in the Punch-up in Piestany. In the aftermath of the infamous game, he was identified as the player who jumped over the boards causing a bench-clearing brawl and the ejection of both the Canadian and Soviet teams from the tournament. After serving a six-month IIHF suspension, Davydov's international career would continue with gold at the 1990 World Championship for the Soviet Union and then Olympic gold as a member of the Unified Team in 1992. Traded to Ottawa by Florida as part of the package for Ottawa forward Bob Kudelski, Davydov finished his career with the Sens. From 1995-2003, Davydov spent time in France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Finland and Russia before retiring.
Daniel Alfredsson RW 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012
The one and only. He may not have been the first to wear the #11, but he will be the last. No other player in the team's history has been so influential, no one has meant more. Since 1950-51, 346 NHLers have worn the #11. Only Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, Gilbert Perrault, and Owen Nolan have more goals wearing #11 than Alfie and Alfie needs only 4 goals to pass Nolan. Only Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, and Gilbert Perrault have had more points - all are Hall of Famers. The number has become synonymous with Alfie and will remain so long after he's retired.