The Ottawa Senators announced this afternoon that they will retire the #11 sweater worn for 17 seasons by former captain Daniel Alfredsson in a pregame ceremony prior to their December 29, 2016 tilt against the Red Wings. Alfredsson, of course, wrapped up his remarkable career with Detroit so choosing a game between the only two NHL franchises “Alfie” ever played for makes perfect sense.
Alfredsson was drafted all the way down in the sixth round of the 1994 entry draft, after 132 other players had already come off the board. He would make his NHL debut during the 1995-96 campaign as a 23-year-old and would go on to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, scoring 26 goals and 61 points in 82 games. He would ultimately go on to set Ottawa franchise records in goals (426), assists (682), points (1,108), even-strength goals (270) and power play goals (131).
After such a lengthy and prodigious career, Alfredsson has essentially become synonymous with Ottawa Senators hockey and he deserves to have the honor of his #11 hanging in the rafters at Canadian Tire Center.
Elsewhere among the league’s eastern teams….
- Jim Cerny of Blueshirts United spoke with Rangers prospect Marek Hrivik about his chances of making the team after a solid campaign playing for their AHL affiliate in Hartford, and a brief five-game cup of coffee with the Rangers. Hrivik indicated the club is happy with his progress and that he is “close” to making it as an NHL regular. He will face plenty of competition in camp as fellow rookies Nicklas Jensen and Pavel Buchnevich will also be in the hunt for a job.
- Another young player who faces an uphill battle to secure a regular role is Tomas Jurco of the Detroit Red Wings. Ansar Kan, writing for MLive.com, argues that Jurco will have to distinguish himself in camp at a time when the club will be missing several regular skaters who will be participating in the World Cup. Jurco looked like a core building block following a solid debut in 2013-14 when the then 21-year-old posted eight goals and 15 points in just 36 games. Since then, Jurco has tallied just 24 points in 87 contests and could find himself on the outside looking in with Detroit.
- Finally, while some players are at least guaranteed a shot to win a job in camp, others like Tyler Kennedy are still waiting for a call from a club willing to offer another chance. Kennedy, who was in the same position last summer, is fearful he may not get another opportunity to prove he belongs in the NHL, as Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes. Kennedy did receive a camp invite last year from New Jersey and earned a contract with a solid showing. He would see action in 50 games for the Devils but scored just three goals along with 13 assists. Kennedy, who once scored 21 goals as a 24-year-old during the 2010-11 season in Pittsburgh, has seen his offensive production decline significantly ever since that breakout campaign. One advantage he does possess over other veterans clamoring for one last kick at the can is that he is still considered a speedy player. More teams are looking to add speed to their lineup, following the successful blueprint perfected by Pittsburgh, and Kennedy might be able to offer just that on the cheap to a team looking for a low-risk, bottom-six type of forward.