Daniel Alfredsson (born December 11, 1972) is a Swedish professional ice hockey player. He is the captain of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is considered a leader by example and has been compared to former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman in his value to the Senators. A right winger with the Senators, Alfredsson usually plays on the first line, which was formerly nicknamed the ‘CASH’ or ‘Pizza’ line with centre Jason Spezza and left winger Dany Heatley, before Heatley’s trade to the San Jose Sharks. He has traditionally been the fourth forward on the ice in the role of pointman on Ottawa’s powerplay. He is one of the league’s top two-way scorers, and he holds the Senators’ franchise records for goals (355), assists (566), and points (921) with 932 games played. He has played for Sweden internationally thirteen times, including the 2006 gold medal winning Olympic squad.
Drafted 133rd overall in the sixth round in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Alfredsson was a serendipitous pick by the Senators. He had been overlooked by many NHL scouts, but one man in Ottawa’s front office, John Ferguson, saw the potential and pushed management for his selection. Though largely unheralded entering his first NHL training camp, he would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in his first NHL season in 1995–96 and was the Senators’ representative at the NHL All-Star Game. In 1996–97, he improved on his rookie totals and played in the All-Star Game again. He finished second in team scoring, contributing to the Senators’ first modern playoff qualification.
Alfredsson missed the beginning of the 1997–98 season due to a contract dispute. He signed a new deal on October 12, 1997, worth $14 million over four years. After missing the first five games of the season, he was greeted by a standing ovation in his first game back in Ottawa. Alfredsson would later be named the Senators’ representative at the All-Star Game for the third consecutive season. During that season, Alfredsson would play in only 55 games, due to the earlier contract dispute and a late season ankle injury. The Senators qualified for the playoffs again and defeated the New Jersey Devils, but lost to the surging Washington Capitals in the second round. Alfredsson would score seven goals in 11 playoff games in 1998.
In 1998–99, Alfredsson missed 24 games due to an injury, and was limited to only 11 goals. The club once again qualified for the playoffs, and Alfredsson hoped to have a good postseason, but was limited to one goal and three points in a sweep at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. The next season, he was named captain of the Senators after Alexei Yashin was stripped of the captaincy for refusing to honor his contract. After two somewhat disappointing seasons, Alfredsson’s scoring totals improved, with 21 goals and 59 points in 57 games. In the playoffs, the Senators met the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Senators would lose the inaugural “Battle of Ontario“, although Alfredsson contributed three goals in the six-game series.
In 2000–01, Yashin returned to the Ottawa lineup but the team captaincy remained with Alfredsson, who would score 24 goals and 70 points in 68 games. The Senators again met the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, and Alfredsson was limited to one goal in a four-game series sweep by Toronto. In 2001–02, Alfredsson set a personal best with 37 goals and 71 points in 78 games. In the playoffs, the Senators once again met the now arch-rival Maple Leafs in the second round, where they lost in seven games. Alfredsson led the team in playoff scoring with seven goals and 13 points in 12 games.
Alfredsson signed a two-year contract prior to the 2002–03 season. He increased his scoring totals, finishing with 27 goals and 78 points. The club won the President’s Trophy that season, despite the organization filing for bankruptcy protection, and qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils. Alfredsson scored four goals and eight points in 18 games.
In 2003–04, Alfredsson finished the season with 32 goals and 80 points in 78 games. The club lost its first-round playoff to Toronto, and Alfredsson was limited to one goal and three points in the seven-game series. Mid-season, Alfredsson signed a five year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators.
Like many NHL players, Alfredsson played for a European team during the 2004–05 NHL lockout. He returned to Sweden to play for Frölunda HC, the team he had played for prior to beginning his NHL career. He played on an all-NHL line with P. J. Axelsson and Samuel Påhlsson, helping the club win the Swedish Championship. Alfredsson was a major contributor during the playoffs, scoring 12 goals and 18 points in 14 games.
On October 5, 2005, opening night for the 2005–06 NHL season, the Senators played the Maple Leafs, with the newly acquired Dany Heatley playing on the top line with Jason Spezza and Brandon Bochenski. The Senators were down by a goal with five minutes remaining in the third period, when Alfredsson, replacing Bochenski on the top line, scored the tying goal. This line combination would remain intact, and became known as the ‘CASH line’. Later in the same game, Heatley and Alfredsson scored the first goals in a regular season NHL shootout when they scored against Leafs goalie Ed Belfour for a 3–2 victory. With Alfredsson scoring in the shootout, he became the first captain in the NHL history to do so. Alfredsson and Heatley’s sticks were subsequently sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Alfredsson capped off the 2005–06 regular season with a career high 103 points (43 goals and 60 assists) tied for first on the Senators along with Heatley. Perhaps the best game of his NHL career took place on November 3, 2005, against the longtime rival Buffalo Sabres, in which he scored a then career-high four goals and six points.
After a disappointing 2006 playoffs and poor play to start the season, Alfredsson became the subject of trade rumors from the beginning of the 2006–07 season. He improved his game, attributing the reversal in part to a change in skates, and had a six-game scoring streak soon after. On Saturday, December 23, 2006, against the Philadelphia Flyers, he notched his 600th career point, scoring two goals and adding an assist.
In the 2007 playoffs, Alfredsson was the Senators’ leading scorer with 14 goals and 22 points in 20 games. His leadership and strong play helped the Senators as they advanced past the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in modern franchise history. He became the first European-born-and-raised captain to lead his team to the finals. When presented with the Prince of Wales Trophy, he posed while touching the trophy, which many hockey players consider a form of bad luck.
Alfredsson was arguably Ottawa’s best player in the Stanley Cup Finals, which the Senators ultimately lost to the Anaheim Ducks in a five game series. In a controversial incident in game four, an Alfredsson slap shot hit Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer at the end of the second period, leading to unfounded speculation that Alfredsson intended to injure Niedermayer. Alfredsson dismissed the notion, saying that he had glanced up at the clock to see if he had time to move in for a better shot, and then quickly fired in the heat of an extremely important game.
Along with the rest of the Senators, Alfredsson’s 2007–08 season was marked by highs and lows. On January 24, 2008, he scored three goals and four assists in an 8–4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning., setting the Senators’ record for most points in one game. It vaulted him into the NHL scoring lead at the All-Star break. He was named NHL ‘Player of the Week’ and its ‘First Star’. Alfredsson and his linemates, Heatley and Spezza, were named to the Eastern Conference All-Star game roster, although Heatley would not play due to injury. Injuries reduced Alfredsson’s playing time and effectiveness in the latter half of the season. First, Alfredsson suffered a hip pointer injury, and on April 3, 2008, Mark Bell of the Maple Leafs hit him with a shoulder that left Alfredsson on the ice, unable to get up for several minutes . He missed the final game of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. He had played in every modern Senators playoff game up to that point. On April 14, 2008, with the Senators trailing 2–0 in their playoff series to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alfredsson made his return in game three of the series, four weeks earlier than initially expected. He was welcomed with a lengthy standing ovation at Scotiabank Place. However, the Senators gave up four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to lose the game 4–1. The Senators lost game four 3–1. Afterwards, in an interview on CBC, he admitted he had been playing with a ruptured medial collateral ligament.
In October, 2008, Alfredsson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to remove a bone chip. On October 30, 2008, Alfredsson agreed to a four-year contract extension with Ottawa worth $21.6 million. The contract, intended to allow Alfredsson to finish his playing career with the Senators, included a no-movement clause.
The 2008-09 season was a disappointing one for both Alfredsson and the Senators. The team failed the to make the playoffs, and Alfredsson registered only 24 goals and 74 points in 79 games. On July 8, 2009, Alfredsson became the longest serving active captain in the NHL, as former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu signed with the Anaheim Ducks and former Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic announced his retirement.
Participated in 13 Sweden international teams:
- 1995 World Championships (silver medal)
- 1996 World Championships
- 1996 World Cup of Hockey
- 1997 World Championships
- 1998 Winter Olympics
- 1999 World Championships (bronze medal)
- 2001 World Championships (bronze medal)
- 2002 Winter Olympics
- 2004 World Championships (silver medal)
- 2004 World Cup of Hockey
- 2005 World Championships
- 2006 Winter Olympics (alternate captain, gold medal)
- 2010 Winter Olympics (alternate captain)
In the 2006 tournament, he set highs in goals (5), assists (5) and points (10) and played on the second line with Mats Sundin and Henrik Zetterberg. After an injury to Peter Forsberg, Alfredsson took Forsberg’s spot as the alternate captain, along with Captain Sundin and defenseman Nicklas Lidström.
Daniel is married to Birgitta Alfredsson (née Backman) and is the father of three sons, Hugo, Loui, and Fenix, the most recent which arrived in June 2008. The family resides in Ottawa and Särö, Sweden. Alfredsson’s parents are Hasse and Margareta Alfredsson. His younger brother Henrik Alfredsson played with the Ottawa 67’s junior team as a 19-year old during their 1999 Memorial Cup-winning season.