Last summer, Daniel Alfredsson was a big splash in free agency for the Detroit Red Wings. After spending the past 17 seasons in Ottawa, Alfredsson chose Detroit in hopes of capturing his first Stanley Cup.
Alfredsson fell short, as the Red Wings were eliminated in five games by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.
Alfredsson is one of seven Red Wings who are unrestricted free agents this summer, and according to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, he’s one of two the Red Wings appear to be interested in bringing back.
I liked the Alfredsson pick up last summer, but worried he might suffer down the stretch as the Red Wings attempted to clinch the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive time. Contrary to what I thought, Alfredsson was pretty solid as the regular season ended, as he collected 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his final 14 games. However, he did not register a point in three playoff games.
Alfredsson was very solid for the Red Wings when they needed secondary scoring with the plethora of injuries they endured, but he will be another year older and another year further from his peak in Ottawa.
Here are some pros and cons for the Red Wings re-signing Alfredsson for the 2014-15 season.
- Great leadership
- Solid secondary scoring
- Early playoff exit means extra time to prepare for next season
- Stayed fairly healthy for regular season and Olympics
- There are better and possibly cheaper options available in free agency
- Red Wings have a log jam of prospects waiting in AHL
- He’ll turn 42 in December
As stated earlier, Alfredsson is a solid secondary scorer. He won’t get anywhere close to the 43 goals he scored in the 2005-06 season, but 18 was a good amount of production for the 41-year-old. Which brings me to one of the cons. Alfredsson will turn 42 in December. There aren’t many players who can still compete at a high level at the age of 42. Can Alfredsson make it through another grueling 82-game-plus schedule?
With all of the quality prospects the Red Wings have waiting in Grand Rapids, Alfredsson’s leadership will help the youngsters get acclimated to the speed and intensity of the NHL.
However, keeping a roster spot open for Alfredsson means someone like Tomas Jurco — who is still waiver exempt — could start next season in Grand Rapids. It also keeps other forwards such as Teemu Pulkkinen, Mitch Callahan, Martin Frk, Andrej Nestrasil and possibly even Anthony Mantha from getting a roster spot.
The last thing the Red Wings need is a repeat of last year when Daniel Cleary was signed in the 11th hour, leaving Gustav Nyquist in Grand Rapids for an extra 15 games.
We all know how much general manager Ken Holland likes to overripen his prospects, but with the salary cap in the NHL, it isn’t always beneficial to keep them in the AHL longer than warranted.
Not to mention, there are a number of UFA forwards who would be a better pickup than Alfredsson. Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla and Matt Moulson are just a few names I would rather see in a Red Wings uniform instead of Alfredsson.
That’s not to say I would hate the decision to re-sign Alfredsson, but he will need to take a considerable pay cut from the $5.5 million he got last year in order to make it a good signing.
The good news for Alfredsson is he managed to stay fairly healthy during the course of an 82-game season. He was injured for just 13 games and was a healthy scratch for one. The extended vacation after losing in the first round will only help him rest up and prepare for the 2014-15 season.