One of the biggest questions facing the Red Wings’ 2014 offseason was whether or not the team would bring back the famed forward Daniel Alfredsson- or if he would even want to return. The 41-year-old Swede joined the Red Wings after spending 17 seasons with the Ottawa Senators. He left the Canadian club in free agency in 2013 to pursue a more championship-ready team before his career came to a close.
Alfredsson led the Red Wings with 49 points (18 goals-31 assists). His season was cut a bit short to 68 regular-season games, and 3/5 playoff games, caused by back issues that have interfered with his decision of whether or not to return for another season in Detroit, which looks like it will be made soon:
It looks like, if Daniel Alfredsson finds himself healthy enough to return, the ball is in Detroit’s court to sign him.
Now, the question is, should they?
Alfredsson is a talented player, and one of the premier two-way forwards of the last two decades. He is a right-handed shot, and if defenceman Ryan Sproul does not see ice time this season, Alfie will be the only righty on the roster, which is imperative to the success of the power play. His 49 points led the team this season, but he wasn’t fully satisfied with his performance, and understood he could achieve even more. If Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Weiss can stay healthy, their consistent presence in the lineup could aid him in notching more points.
While Daniel Alfredsson will undoubtedly be an effective player in Detroit’s lineup, his presence could also cause a few hiccups.
Most importantly, Alfie’s health may be a big concern this season. He will be 42 this December, and missed 17 games last season due to his ailing back. Not only is his health an issue, but he could take the roster spot of a few prospects this upcoming season. Tomas Jurco, one of Detroit’s most impressive prospect forwards, had a very good rookie showing last season, but because of his waiver-exemption, he could find himself spending a chunk of the season in Grand Rapids; but any time would be too long. Anthony Mantha, the prolific goal-scoring prospect, could also have the goods to see NHL time, but could also be squeezed out of the lineup by Alfredsson as well.
When all of that being said, I would like to see Daniel Alfredsson wearing the Winged Wheel for one more season. His experience and right-handed shot are very important assets to this young lineup. I don’t see Anthony Mantha being ready to play for the big club full-time this season, and if Tomas Jurco is meant to be on this team this season, he may have a chance to squeeze into the lineup come training camp. Alfredsson’s questionable help could even give a chance for Mantha to crack the lineup sometime during the season.