-Yesterday was a madcap, crazy day for the Sens as Daniel Alfredsson exercised his option as a free agent to sign with another team (Detroit); the Sens then made a blockbuster trade to acquire Bobby Ryan (giving up Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and their 2014 1st-round pick), while also signing Clarke MacArthur, meaning a third of the Sens top-six was overhauled. There is a lot to talk about, beginning with Alfie.
-There are any number of theories on why Alfredsson decided to leave, with Nicholas J. Cotsonika seeing it as a matter of money and ego.
The Senators didn’t want to pay Alfredsson’s price, and he was too proud to beg. They took him for granted, and he explored his options.
I think Alfie‘s half-statement here:
If this is my last season, I don’t want to change anything that’s going on there. I don’t want to demand Bryan or Eugene to …
…sacrifice everything to win the Cup now–this season.” I think Alfie see’s his time is almost up and while an older Detroit team has every reason to pull out all the stops to win now, the Sens are still finishing their rebuild as a budget team. Add that to Melnyk’s financial woes and the move becomes a little less surprising, although it clearly caught management off-guard. Alfredsson‘s friend Tony Rhodes explicitly said ownership was behind the change (Scott focuses a little more on the competitive side and suggests that the Sens being crushed by the Pens may have made Alfie think/realise that Ottawa was still a couple of steps away).
-The question of whether Detroit is in a better position to win the Cup this season (as compared to Ottawa) seems moot, but I think they are.
-The Sens acquired Bobby Ryan, fulfilling the rumours I dismissed last year when they first cropped up. The power forward did not come cheap, costing the Sens three significant assets (readers can correct me, but I think it’s a similar collection of assets that another team rejected last year). While Noesen‘s development in the OHL might not have been what the Sens hoped for, Silfverberg looks like a responsible 20-goal scorer and even a late first-round pick generally produces a player who succeeds at the NHL level. In that sense, Ottawa offered three (eventual) roster players for one. In return the Sens get an offensively dynamic player in his prime (26) who the team will expect to score 30 goals while he’s here (he was on a sub-20 goal pace this season, but his points-per-game were on target). Chris likes the trade, looking in depth at Ryan‘s numbers with the only potential warning sign being his mediocre possession numbers the last two seasons.
-The acquisition of free agent MacArthur slid under the radar due to the two much bigger events. MacArthur was cut loose by the Leafs after three successful seasons in Toronto. The Sens signed him for two years at the same salary the Leafs were giving him. The utility forward’s offensive numbers have been declining the last two seasons, but are still good enough for him to patrol the top-six here. He’s a good possession player and I like the deal (as does Chris), although he’s been let go by two of his previous teams now (Buffalo and Toronto) and I’m not sure if there’s an underlying reason for it.
-Do the two acquisitions negate the financial questions (see below) around the team? Ryan makes a hefty salary and MacArthur is no slouch either–they add 8.35 to the Sens cap. Or do they? Alfredsson was going to make 5.5 and with Silfverberg‘s salary added that’s 6.4. Ottawa has also shed the salaries of Latendresse, Lundin, Gonchar, and Regin already (along with Andre Benoit), so in reality that team hasn’t increased its spending.
-Travis Yost does an excellent job summating the information he’s put together regarding Melnyk’s financial troubles and I highly recommend reading through it.
-Like the rest of you I’m still trying to absorb all the news and information that’s coming out, but I will say I wish Alfredsson well. It would have been great to have the captain finish his career here, but I don’t begrudge him taking one last shot at the Cup.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)