Melnyk considering many factors in talks with Alfredsson Staff

10/5/2008 1:11:59 PM

Eugene Melnyk is confident that the Ottawa Senators can come to a contract agreement with winger Daniel Alfredsson, but is cautious about the type of deal that's reached.

The team owner, along with general manager Bryan Murray, met with Alfredsson's agent JP Barry in Stockholm on Saturday to discuss an extension for the captain.

"We sat down and we had a conversation maybe an hour, hour and a half about a wide range of possibilities," said Melnyk. "It's just going to take some time that's all. There's a lot of things to consider from both sides - it's a little nerve racking in what happened in the global financial markets in the last couple of weeks. We need to see what that's going to do to attendance numbers across the league and how that will affect the cap. That's the key."

Alfredsson, 35, has three option years remaining on his current deal. If he reaches 70 points in 70 games this season, he can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

Melnyk, who understands what the veteran winger means to the organization, is also mindful of other long-term contracts that have been handed out over the last few years.

"As far as Daniel being part of our organization, I want him to be a Senator for life," he explained. "But the good news is everybody's being realistic in saying, 'Hey, where's the world going?,' and do we want to get into a trap I know other teams are getting into. I think we all know those teams, they're going to get caught with their pants down and they are going to be putting out a lot of money to buy out contracts."

Like any other businessman, Melnyk, who founded Toronto-based pharmaceutical giant Biovail nearly 20 years ago, is keeping a close eye on Wall St. and Main St. in the United States and how it may affect his costs in running a pro sports franchise like the Senators.

"I think the global economy affects every dollar that everyone spends right across the board," he told TSN. "And that includes the entertainment dollar. It's not just going to affect hockey but every entertainment dollar. Don't kid yourself - these are serious things that happened in the last couple of weeks and people are going to be affected by it and where they spend their money is going to be very wisely. Now what that does is puts a challenge to hockey in general."