The Ottawa Senators captain, guesting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on his radio show before Thursday’s fantasy draft, said that he was leaning towards returning for the 2012-13 season.
“The way this season is going, if I’m still healthy after this season, I’m hoping I can go one more,” said Alfredsson. “This year has been so good. If we can make the playoffs, that would almost be a dream come true.”
Alfredsson has previously been reluctant to talk about his plans beyond the current season. While he has one year remaining on his contract – he’s due to make $1 million, but his salary cap hit is $4.875 million – the Senators captain had kept a lid on his future plans.
Going into the season, he was coming off back disc surgery and kept expectations low during training camp.
So far, however, Alfredsson has been one of the biggest individual surprises on a team that is in playoff position, a far cry from the 15th spot in the Eastern Conference that many experts predicted.
Alfredsson has 17 goals and 21 assists in 46 games and hit the 400-goal mark just before New Year’s. He scored only 14 goals and 31 points in 54 games last season. The Senators are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
When Bettman pressed Alfredsson on what continues to motivate him, Alfredsson said the youthful enthusiasm on the roster has been a major factor.
“You try to keep up with the young guys,” he said. “You always think you can better…and you can. I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my career and the drive is still there for me, to see how good I can be. When I play well, I can be one of the best in the league. But when I don’t, I’m just average.”
The Senators captain also covered a lot of old ground, recounting his beginnings with the Senators organization. When he was originally drafted back in 1994, he didn’t even know about it until the next day. He knew nothing about Ottawa.
“I had a lot of trepidation, I didn’t know how the players would be, how the coaches would be,” he said.
The rest is, as they say, history.