- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Daniel Alfredsson in a different uniform?
It’s hard to fathom.
All we’ve ever known of the classy Swedish winger is the Ottawa Senators' crest tattooed on his jersey.
And while I still believe he’s going to stay in Ottawa, it is a fact that as the 48-hour window opened Wednesday for teams to reach out to free agents from other clubs ahead of Friday’s market launch, Alfredsson’s agent, J.P. Barry, has fielded calls from several teams. One of those teams is the Boston Bruins.
“Yes, I have spoken to Alfie’s agent at length today,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN.com via text message.
The Bruins’ interest in Alfredsson is hardly a revelation if you’ve been reading my blogs the past year. I wrote during the season that had the injury-riddled Senators fallen out of the playoff chase, Chiarelli would have made Alfredsson his No. 1 target for the April 3 trade deadline. This past week, I wrote that if Alfredsson was not re-signed by the opening of the 48-hour window, the Bruins would surely reach out to him. And they have.
It’s not just because Chiarelli has ties to Alfredsson from Chiarelli’s days in the Ottawa front office. Or because Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was a teammate of Alfie’s in his Ottawa days and both captains have huge respect for each other. Or because Bruins center Chris Kelly is a close buddy of Alfie’s from his Ottawa days, also.
It just so happens that, with Nathan Horton bolting Boston, Chiarelli has a hole to fill on the team’s right side.
So I can tell you this: Chiarelli is going to put on a full-court press to try to lure Alfredsson. It began with a call to Barry on Wednesday morning. There will be more calls. Chiarelli wants this guy.
All of which puts more pressure on Senators GM Bryan Murray to close the deal with Alfredsson, and the sides talked again Wednesday. (Alfredsson is in his native Sweden and will sleep on it. We might have a decision from him by close of Thursday.)
One development: Alfredsson had been toying with the idea of looking for a two-year deal but has decided to stick with a one-year deal, which at his age makes better sense to interested employers. The question is, how much can Murray afford within his budget (the Sens are not a cap team) to allocate to the 40-year-old Alfredsson?
Alfredsson is coming off a deal in which his cap hit was $4.875 million, although his actual salary this past season was $1 million (and even less because of the lockout).
It’s a sensitive situation in Ottawa, to be sure, not just for Murray and owner Eugene Melnyk in how they proceed with the franchise’s most popular player ever, but also for Alfredsson himself. He has deep ties to the Ottawa community and has long entertained the thought about perhaps one day working in the Senators’ front office.
What Boston could offer, however, is a better shot at a Cup, a ring that has eluded Alfredsson during his All-Star career.
On the other hand, the Sens are a team on the rise. They defied the odds this past season by reaching the second round of the playoffs despite injuries that could have crippled them.
I remember being at Bell Centre the night the Sens eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, and seeing and hearing the pride in his teammates Alfredsson expressed in the dressing room.
That’s tough to walk away from. I just can’t see Alfredsson leaving.
All we know is that, for the first time in his career, he’s hearing from other teams that want to sign him, and Boston would be the best bet if he ever left Ottawa.
• Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins are close to agreeing to an extension that I believe will pay the star center between $52-54 million.
• Three teams reached out to Bill Zito, the agent for Tim Thomas, on Wednesday morning to express their interest. This situation is going to be interesting, to say the least.
• Agent Paul Krepelka, who represents Nathan Horton, said his client was visiting with a team Wednesday but wouldn’t disclose which. No one with the team nor with his camp will confirm this, but I believe Horton's site visit was with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Look for whoever signs Horton to be in a non-traditional hockey market. Horton is looking for a quieter place than Boston to continue his career.