Daniel Alfredsson was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the sixth round, 166th overall in the 1994 draft. He made his NHL debut during the 1995-96 season, recording 61 points in 82 games.
Two years later he was given an “A.” Two years after that, he was named team captain. He was the face of the franchise, loved by fans and management. It appeared he would be a Senator of life, possibly taking a management position once he retired as a Senator. So one thought.
Alfredsson and the Senators couldn’t reach a contract agreement and on July 5th, he signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Fans and players were stunned. Alfredsson was suppose to retire as a Senator. Something wasn’t right.
After yesterday’s press conference, things definitely weren’t right and it’s getting pretty ugly.
“When I did my last contract for four years ending in the (2012-13) season, I was asked to help the team manage the salary cap by adding on a extra year to my contract. I agreed. Each side fully expected I would retire and not play the 2012-13 season,” said Alfredsson.
“However, after the 2012 season, I told the Sens I wanted to play another season. I also asked to look at a possible extension this upcoming season at a fair amount to balance out the two years for both of us. They agreed.
“Sadly, the contract negotiations went nowhere, but I played out the season as I had promised and I believe this past season, in my view, was a very special one.”
Alfredsson asked the Senators for a one-year, $7 million deal for this season or a two-year deal for $12 million, but the Senators offered a one-year deal at $4.5 million.
Senators GM Bryan Murray doesn’t recall the same version as Alfredsson did.
“I can say this: I’m disappointed,” said Murray. “It seems Alfie isn’t totally informed of what went on. That had to do with J.P. (Barry) didn’t tell me the truth during the week. He kept saying ‘I can’t get in touch with Alfie. I will get back to you with a number.’
“He never got back to me. I never heard back from him after the phone call on Tuesday (before free agency). Alfie called me himself on Thursday night to tell me that he was leaving. I said to J.P. during the earlier conversations I can’t pay you $7 million. That’s what they asked for for the year.
“I offered $4.5 million. I said, ‘Both of us hopefully are flexible and we will talk.’ (Barry) said he would get back to me. I just took for granted that would happen and it never happened. I never heard back. I have not J.P. since the $7 milliion (demand in New York) Saturday meeting we had. It was $12 million for two years and $7 million for one. That’s disappointing.”
“Two years ago we promised to extend his contract? When we did the contract originally I don’t know any reason why I have to tell anything other than the truth. I’m 70-years-old you think I care what happens?,” said Murray.
“He said we asked for another year to make it cap friendly? He asked for a four year deal with up front money. It so happened there was the fourth year at $1 million. Both of us talked and he certainly didn’t anticipate playing and J.P. didn’t anticipate him playing so I said, ‘That’s fine.’
“He played. When we talked in Las Vegas (last summer) it was about adding a year and $8 million in the second year to make it up to make it a $4.5 million year for two years. I talked to Eugene and we said we couldn’t do that.”
Alfredsson agent, J.P. Barry, also got in to the mix yesterday, sending an email to the Ottawa Sun.
“The fact is this was a negotiation concerning impending free agency,” Barry said. “We made multiple offers and invited them to negotiate. They provided a number on the weekend prior to July 5 and said this is all they can do due to internal budget restrictions.”
“It wasn’t a market offer in our estimation. They wanted Daniel to take a below market deal again after he had done the same several times previously and we didn’t feel that was appropriate.
“Daniel and I spoke every day during the process at length. Essentially, the Senators wanted us to present lower offers to them and that is not how the process works.”
“When a player has impending free agency and the club wants to keep that player, they need to present their best offer and not ask the player to negotiate against himself,” said Barry. “The interview window opened after we couldn’t bridge the gap over the weekend and a new opportunity and a new challenge came along.
“By that time, it was simply too late.”