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Numbers Game: Alfredsson heads to Detroit

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Scott Cullen
7/5/2013 12:13:49 PM
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After 17 seasons and 1299 (regular season plus playoff) games, Daniel Alfredsson has left the Ottawa Senators, signing as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings.

Numbers Game looks at what Alfredsson brings to the Wings and what the Senators will need to replace in their lineup.

The Red Wings Get: RW Daniel Alfredsson.

Alfredsson, 40, suffered through the worst year of his career in 2010-2011, but has rebounded in the two years since to score 85 points in 122 games. That 0.70 points per game as a 39 and 40-year-old player ranks sixth since 1980 among players aged 39, 40 and 41. Alfredsson also put up better puck possession numbers in the last couple seasons too, an indication that his production rebound wasn't merely by luck.

A 13-time 20-goal scorer, Alfredsson has also been logging big minutes for the Senators, playing 19:21 per game last season, second-highest among Ottawa forwards.

In Detroit, Alfredsson will likely play a prominent role if not necessarily quite as many minutes, perhaps skating on the wing with fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg, a position that should afford Alfredsson the opportunity to produce enough to justify his place on the depth chart, since Zetterberg consistently holds an edge in territorial play, regardless of who his linemates have been over the years.

At the same time, Alfresson did generate only 2.15 shots per game last season, the second-lowest rate of his career and his shooting percentage (9.9%) was the third-lowest of his career, so there are signs of declining production. Could he still score 50-plus points in a full season? Sure.

Ottawa will miss Alfredsson, who also led the team with 10 points in 10 playoff games last season, but the Senators have Jakob Silfverberg heading into his second season and Alfredsson's departure will likely make the Senators a more active suitor in free agency, where they could get highly-coveted David Clarkson, but may also want to consider Jarome Iginla, Michael Ryder or Clarke MacArthur to help replace the lost production.

Alfredsson's deal is reportedly for $3.5-million, with bonuses that could make it worth as much as $5.5-million.

It's rare for any player to last his entire career with one franchise, yet it always comes as a shock when one that has remained with a team for so long finally moves on. Alfredsson has given his all to the Senators and has every right to pick and choose where he will spend the last years of his career.

That he feels comfortable with Detroit, a team that still has a strong veteran Swedish contingent (including Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Mikael Samuelsson in addition to Zetterberg) is understandable and, as strange as it might look initially, it's still easy to see Alfredsson as a solid complementary player for the Red Wings and, on a one-year deal, he's a low-risk investment for a team that expects to contend every year.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Daniel Alfredsson  (Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
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