Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has decided that he will return to the team for his 17th NHL season in 2012-2013. The right winger scored 27 goals and 32 assists in his 16th season with the Sens last season.
“Daniel is an exceptional captain whose commitment to his teammates and to the great City of Ottawa is second to none,” said Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk in a press statement. “Daniel expects a lot out of himself both on and off the ice so I fully understand how important a decision this was for him and his family. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome and look forward to Daniel having a great year and adding to his long list of extraordinary achievements with our hockey club.”
Melnyk is not the only one in Ottawa happy to have its captain return for another season.
“Daniel’s contributions to this hockey team cannot be understated. He is a leader and a mentor to many of our young players,” said GM Bryan Murray. “Daniel is also a great hockey player and we expect him to return and continue to be one of our best players as we look to improve on last year’s accomplishments.”
Alfredsson also has extremely high standards for himself, and would not have come back if he had not felt fully prepared. Between past injuries and a possible work stoppage looming, some thought that we may have seen the last of Alfredsson in the NHL, but that apparently will not be the case.
“I’m excited to get ready for another season,” said Alfredsson. “I’ve been training for about a month and a half and my body feels a lot further ahead of where it was last year at this point. I expect to come into camp stronger and fitter than I did last year.”
Alfredsson has been not only recognized for his leadership since becoming team captain in 1999, but he was recognized by the league this past season. Alfredsson won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which symbolizes the player who best demonstrates leadership qualities on and off the ice while also making noteworthy contributions within his community.
“I spoke to my family [about a potential return for a 17th season] and we are all on the same page – if I am motivated to continue to play, then they will be supportive of me playing,” said the Sens captain. “It really came down to asking if I had the motivation to come back and be happy about the decision to return. I definitely feel that way and know that I am ready and have more in the tank to give.”
Alfredsson is the longest tenured team captain still playing next season, and leads the Senators in countless categories, including games played, goals, assists and points. Needless to say, every Senators fan in Ottawa and across the world will be happy to see him lace up the skates for at least one more season.