Daniel Alfredsson has made it no secret that he had a blast captaining the Ottawa Senators last year; reinvigorated by the enthusiasm of players like Erik Karlsson, scoring 27 goals in 75 games and being the darling of the NHL All-Star Weekend.
But he's also been candid about how tough it is getting his 39-year-old body to keep up with those whippersnappers is a chore.
The Ottawa Sun reports that Alfredsson wants to make sure he can "fully commit" to off-season training before announcing his intentions to return to the NHL for another season. It's the same thing we've heard from other veteran stars like Nicklas Lidstrom on the past — do they have the desire to press on and do the necessary work to maintain an all-star level of play?
But there's another issue with Alfredsson regarding next season that's puzzled many fans: The fact that he would be returning to play for a $1 million base salary, which was the backend of his 4-year frontloaded $19.5 million deal back in 2009.
"Welcome back, Alfie; here's Bobby Butler money."
Ah, but Bruce Garrioch of the Sun suggests the Senators have a way around that low wage.
He suggests that a creative contract extension, with the UFA deals signed by Martin Brodeur and Ray Whitney as the comparables, could be given to Alfie:
The 40-year-old Brodeur sniffed around the market, but agreed to sign a two-year, $9-million deal with the Devils Monday morning. Whitney, a UFA who spent last season in Phoenix, got a similar deal with the Stars.
Not only would an extension ensure Alfredsson doesn't go anywhere as a UFA, the Senators could include a signing bonus so that Alfredsson gets a bump from the $1-million salary he's supposed to collect 2012-13.
So let's add "cap circumventing years at end of contract eased by subsequent signing bonus" to the list of creative CBA workarounds by the GMs that set up these rules — will the NHL allow flimsy B.S. years at the end of contracts in the next CBA?
As for Alfie, back in April he was unsure of his future:
"Do I have the energy and motivation to get ready for another year because I know I just can't take the summer off and come to camp and hope I will do well. If I want to play I want to play at as high level as I can and that means you have to go through a summer of hard workouts and getting ready to play a full season."
Here's hoping he has at least one more year left in him.