Be sure to join us here at noon for the latest updates on NHL free agency, but here's some stunning news just emerging out of Ottawa -- captain Daniel Alfredsson is not returning to the only NHL team he has played for.
Alfredsson has informed the Senators he will not be re-signing, which had been considered a mere formality in the last couple of days. Instead, he is going to hit the free agent market and is expected to sign with either the Detroit Red Wings or Boston Bruins (most reports have Detroit in the lead, with Alfredsson joining fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg and the deal being one year and $3.5 million).
Alfredsson is far and away Mr. Senator, a player who seemed destined to play his whole career in Ottawa. He has 426 goals, 682 assists and 1,108 points in 1,178 games since making his debut in Ottawa in 1995. He is the NHL's longest-tenured captain, having taken over the role from Alexei Yashin in 1999.
And, of course, he is forever tied to the Sabres-Senators playoff battles as the player Jason Pominville went around to score the short-handed overtime goal that ended the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal in 2006, and the overtime scorer that broke Buffalo's hearts in the decisive Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals in 2007. Alfredsson also scored his 1,000th career point in Buffalo in 2010 with an empty-net goal that capped a hat trick.
Ottawa went on to lose the Stanley Cup final in '07 to Anaheim and Alfredsson hasn't been that close to the Cup since. At age 40, a sudden move like this is clearly a chase of a championship.
And remember this point: If it's the Red Wings, Alfredsson is moving within the division. Detroit is joining Tampa Bay and Florida next season in the yet-unnamed division with the five holdovers from the Northeast. Instant new rivalry.
taggedNHL free agency | Ottawa Senators