The photo taken above was from the 2017 NHL Draft where Daniel Alfredsson and his sons worked the event representing the Ottawa Senators organization.
He doesn’t look like a man who’s ready to walk away from his gig, but just one week later, Alfredsson’s walking out the door on July 1st for the second time in the last four years.
Through an official press release by the Senators, Alfredsson released the following statement:
“After two enjoyable years learning about the front office of hockey with the Senators, I’m pleased to pass along that I’ve made the decision to step away from the game and will take this time to evaluate what professional challenge I will pursue next.”
“I want to thank the Senators for the opportunity; it has enabled me to understand the type of commitments required to work in hockey should I determine that to be my future path. Our first order of business is getting established in our new home in Ottawa and returning to Gothenburg, with my family, to visit Swedish family and friends for the summer. We look forward to sharing the details of what’s next for the Alfredsson family in the future.”
The timing of the announcement was out of left field and left everyone with more questions than it provided answers.
Fortunately in this go-around, news of Alfie’s departure won’t be met with news that the Senators have traded for Bobby Ryan.
Why Alfredsson left was not immediately made clear, but Sportsnet’s John Shannon was quick to point out that something was rotten in Denmark.
Shortly thereafter, Shannon tweeted the following:
It is weird for a prominent NHL personality to throw something out there about Alfredsson taking “the high road” if there was no substance to back it up, especially after the postseason that Ottawa just had.
In today’s brief media availability, general manager Pierre Dorion failed to add much context to Alfredsson’s decision beyond the fact that Alfie called Dorion last night to make him aware of his choice.
“Yeah, I was a little bit surprised. I think from a personal note, Daniel and I were the same age. He was slightly a better hockey player than me, but we talked yesterday evening and he indicated to me that he wanted to leave the organization for now. The door will always be open for Daniel. Daniel’s input over the last two years has been tremendous. We’ve really developed a really good friendship. We’ve really developed a really good professional working relationship. Wherever Daniel goes, he’s a pretty bright guy, he’s going to have success. He just felt that at this point in time, he just wanted to step away. He just bought a house. I know he’s going back to Sweden tomorrow, so I think that he just wanted to take a step back.”
When asked whether Alfredsson thoroughly explained his decision to leave, Dorion could not elaborate.
“No, he didn’t really give me a reason. He was really appreciative of everything that he’s learned over the last two years being part of our management group. His input was always appreciated from my side of things, especially being so close to being a former player and stepping in. No real reason, he just felt that it was the right thing to do at this point in time. I really respect him. He’s beaten me at golf every time and he’s taken my money, so I even respect him more, but he’s going to have success in whatever he does.”
Whatever the reason, Alfredsson’s departure creates a lot of questions: Why did he leave? Will the Senators replace him the front office? Is this on Eugene Melnyk? If Alfie took the high road, what’s the real story behind his decision to leave? Perhaps most importantly, if Melnyk gets blamed, will he write another editorial to the Ottawa Citizen chronicling why this isn’t his fault?
Perhaps most importantly, what kind of impact will this have on Erik Karlsson’s desire to remain an Ottawa Senator?
It’s terrifying to think about the greatest player in franchise history walking out that door when he hits unrestricted free agency in July of 2019, but who could blame him?
His owner fails to inspire confidence, there’s no guarantee that this team will contend in the near future and in a world where we’re wondering about loyalty, Karlsson’s mentor and good friend has just fled the organization for the second time in four years.
Happy July 1st, everyone.