Is it time to trade Alfredsson?

I know in the past I have put out the idea that the Senators should consider trading Alfredsson. My argument prior to the 2005-06 season was that the team changed the coach, gave super-talanted Spezza the #1 center role, swapped star wingers (Hossa for Heatley) and acquired a star goalie (Hasek) and that if this team still can’t win in the playoffs that they should consider a major leadership change by trading Alfredsson. They were once again a dissapointment in the playoffs but chose to keep Alfredsson as their captain and leader.

But 17 games into the season the Senators now sit at a dismal 6-10-1 with no real signs of breaking out of their slump. The question is, what do you do now? I would like to once again suggest that tradeing Daniel Alfredsson is what should be done. It seems clear that the goto tandem of the team is Spezza and Heatley. So far the coach has never even flirted with the notion of splitting them up and generally there hasn’t been a reason to as they have played great together. The problem is, if those two are the goto tandem, where does that leave Alfredsson?

Over the course of much of last season and most of this season coach Bryan Murray has tried desperately to find success for Alfredsson on a different line. There was some limited success last season mostly when Alfredsson was paired with Bryan Smolinski but as we know Bryan Smolinski is not in Chicago. This season finding Alfredsson some linemates to play with has been a complete failure. So if you can’t find Alfredsson another line to play on and if he is only going to be the #3 guy on the top line, and if you believe that his leadership abilities are questionable based on past failures to lead the team to playoff success, does that make Alfredsson the most expendable part of this team if you are looking to make an impact trade to turn the season around?

Sure, you could trade Fisher, but he has played poorly so far this season and his value is probably fairly low. You could trade Vermette but he has game-breaking speed and has been one of the few players who has contributed secondary scoring and honestly, would a Vermette trade be big enough to be considered a significant enough shake up to turn the team around? I am not sure of that. And trading any other forward (aside from Spezza or Heatley but they have been identified as the go to tandem so won’t be traded) would be considered enough of a shakeup to dramatically change the make up of the team.

So at this point it is clear that the team needs a significant shake up and that Alfredsson of all the forwards is both expendable and valuable enough to both be considered a major shakeup and provide signifant return in a trade. So, who do you trade him for.

First off, in trading Alfredsson I wouldn’t be looking for a player of equal talent, I would be looking for a pair of players who would bring a different set of attributes to the table. I would be looking for a defensivly aware, high-energy winger who would be able to play with Spezza and Heatley and also a solid all-round second line center to be able to play with guys like Vermette, Eaves, Schaeffer, etc. In an ideal world one or both of these players would have experienced some playoff success.

Here are a few examples of a trade that might work:

1. Alfredsson to Florida for Nathan Horton and Joe Nieuwendyk

Horton is a high energy, feisty power forward with enough skill to be able to play with Spezza and Heatley and he is young and someone you could build around for the future. Nieuwendyk isn’t the ideal second line center because at this point in his career he has injury issues but has the leadership and playoff experience that Ottawa desperately needs. You could try to get Jozef Stumpel but he doesn’t really have the playoff experience and leadership skills you would ideally be looking for. Gary Roberts is another option but doesn’t address the need for a second line center. Florida might consider a move like this because GM and coach Jacques Martin is very familiar with Alfredsson and they might be looking for someone to help alleviate the loss of Bertuzzi to injury.

2. Alfredsson to NY Islanders for Mike York and Trent Hunter

Both York and Hunter have had poor starts to the season but both are capable of playing much better. Hunter is a good all-round winger who can play physical, whill score some goals and won’t hurt you defensively. York is a good second line center with good playmaking abilities and also won’t hurt you defensively. York would be a good second line center for Ottawa. The downside is that neither of these guys provide the playoff experience you would be looking for and also both players have contracts ending at the end of the season. But you could probably get the Islanders to include a draft pick or a prospect in this trade because of that. The Islanders might do this deal to reunite Alfredsson with Yashin and hopefully get some more offense out of both of them.

3. Alfredsson to Anaheim for Todd Marchant and Corey Perry

Todd Marchant would be a solid second line center and Corey Perry has the talent and ability to play either with Spezza and Heatley or with Marchant on the second line. Marchant played great in the playoffs last year as well so that would be a plus for the Senators. Anaheim might do this deal to rid themselves of the 3 years remaining on Marchant’s contract and also to get another proven and experienced scorer. Alfredsson’s salary is more than the combined salary of Marchant and Perry this season but the Ducks did save $800,000 in the Chistov trade so might be positioned to take on some added salary.

I doubt any of these trades will happen but they are the kind of trade that I think Ottawa needs to make to shake up their team and also address some holes that clearly exist in their lineup. The question is, does Muckler have enough guts (or lost enough patience in his team) to make a bold move like this before Melnyk makes a bold move of his own.

This article has 19 Comments

  1. Isn’t the reason that Spezza and Heatley haven’t been split up because they are less versatile than Alfredsson, and less likely to do well without another star to work with? Alfredsson equalled Heatley in points even on the 2nd and 3rd lines. Alfredsson and Spezza could be just as effective a tandem if we could unload the less versatile Heatley.

    Not that I necessarily disagree with your assesment overall, but I don’t agree with the assumption that Spezza/Heatley are our “go to guys” because they’re so much better than Alfie.

  2. I don’t necesarily disagree with you either. Alfredsson and Spezza would also probably work really well together but that doesn’t seem to be the direction Murray is going. But the most significant reason I would trade Alfredsson over Heatley is because Alfredsson has been the face of this franchise for close to a decade and in large part that has been a decade of playoff failures. The team needs a new outlook on things and new leadership in the dressing room. One of the few things that hasn’t changed with this franchise is Alfredsson. Owners, GMs, coaches and most players have changed but the results and dissapointments haven’t. Also, Heatley is younger and has more of a long-term future with this team and is also more likely to welcome new leadership in the dressing room than Alfredsson would.

  3. “Also, Heatley is younger and has more of a long-term future with this team”

    He is certainly younger but I don’t know he has more of a long-term future. His contract is up in two years, same as Alfredsson. After that, it’s anyones guess.

  4. Alfie makes less than $5M, scored 100pts last year, and is the only Senator to improve his point total every year since 1999. Though this run is likely to be broken this year, it just doesn’t make sense to me to trade someone like that for the sake of “putting a new face” on the franchise or speculation that his leadership (as opposed to Murrey’s leadership, or Gerber sucking ass) is to blame. No matter what the Sens get for Alfie, it will never pay equal dividends, and the players received in exchange will be expected by Ottawa fans to put up huge numbers, which isn’t likely.

    The bigger issue here is that, though Alfie is the Sens’ hardest working player after perhaps Fisher (and people who say Alfie has no heart or work ethic isn’t watching the Sens play), Murrey is always putting him with different combinations of players. It doesn’t make sense to put your hardest worker on the 3rd or 4th line.

    Trading Alfie in order to address a number of unconfirmed abstracts regarding his personality or passion or whatever is just silly. Every team in the league will line up for a potential 100 point scorer making less than $5M. Ottawa fans should think a bit more fundamentally about what Alfie brings to the team and in a less knee-jerk manner. Their season is starting badly, but look at what happened to Boston last year. They trade their best player away and now, only one season later, are talking about trading Stuart and perhaps Sturm for a number of new players.

  5. Conrad, you display all the features of a typical Senators fan. You, like most Senators fans, never want to believe that there is something wrong with the core of this team. Prior to the lockout the common theme was “we are the more talented team, but those referees just wouldn’t call penalties on the Leafs, those cheating, clutching and grabbing Leafs” which migrated to “Fire Jacques Martin, he is too emotionless, we need a coach that can motivate our players better” to last year “Damn that Dominik Hasek for giving up on this team” to now “Damn that Bryan Murray, he’s the problem”. Senators fans are always giving some excuse why Alfredsson and the players around him can’t win. Well, excuses are for losers. How many more excuses do you need before you come to the conclusion that something fundamental amongst the core of this team is not working.

    You can point to the Thornton trade as why you should not trade Alfredsson but there are some significant differences. First, as good as Alfredsson is, he is no Joe Thornton. There are a number of Alfredsson type players in the NHL, there aren’t many Thornton type players in the NHL. Second, Alfredsson is much older than Thornton and on the downside of his career where Thornton still has his best years ahead. And third, he might be the third best forward on the Senators right now, not the best. If I were building a team I would certainly take Spezza over Alfredsson (centers are far more valuable) and probably Heatley too. And fourth, I am not saying make a bad trade like Boston did, make a good one that fills the holes that the team has.

  6. This comment was submitted by Triumph but on the old server so I thought I’d add it here.

    How many ‘crashers and bangers’ did Carolina have, exactly? Last I checked their forward lineup for the Stanley Cup year had a top 9 of Staal, Justin Williams, Ray Whitney, Cory Stillman, Doug Weight, Mark Recchi, Rod Brind’Amour, Matt Cullen, and Andrew Ladd. Of those players, only Ladd and B’A can be described as ‘crashers and bangers’ and most of them are on the far side of finesse. While their 4th line were grinders, they didn’t play very much at all – probably three minutes or less. However, Carolina is probably the worst team to win the Stanley Cup – they rode an effective power play to the Cup, and faced teams with key injuries in every series.

    Ottawa fell apart when they lost that Game 1 and never really recovered. However, they could’ve just as easily won that series – they lost three overtime games. Saying that they ‘don’t have the toughness’ or ‘the will to win’ seems a little dishonest when they could’ve probably won at least one of those games with a better goaltender. In the old NHL, I’d agree with your assessment – but as Carolina shows, finesse players can win a Stanley Cup if they draw enough power plays.

    The Senators have no need to trade Alfredsson – they might do it anyway, but I’d trade Heatley first. If they deal Alfredsson, they leave themselves a gigantic hole in the lineup – it’s unlikely they can find a suitable match around the NHL.

  7. Triumph, conveniently you mentioned top 9 because Kevyn Adams is a crasher and banger as well adh Chad LaRose is an energy player. Ottawa doesn’t have a player like either of these guys. I also wouldn’t put Ladd in the top 9. But I would also say that guys like Staal use their size better than Spezza.

    I would also say that the real difference between the Hurricanes and Ottawa is that most of the Carolina team had been at least to the Stanley Cup finals in the past and a few had won it. Ottawa doesn’t have that kind of experience. Ottawa’s playoff experience is almost all failures.

    “Saying that they ‘don’t have the toughness’ or ‘the will to win’ seems a little dishonest when they could’ve probably won at least one of those games with a better goaltender.”

    Better goaltender? Ottawa scored 7 goals total in games 2 thru 5 and you blame the goaltender? Now that seems like placing the blame in the wrong location.

  8. Maybe if Toronto doesn’t make the playoffs this year they should trade Sundin.

    (Insert a thousand angry responses and passive agressiveness here.)

  9. Toronto isn’t expected to win the cup. Ottawa is. There’s a huge difference in the make up of the two teams. Alfredsson isn’t performing, Sundin pretty much always does. Alfredsson is less important to his team than Sundin is to the Leafs. Too many outside factors to equate the two.

  10. Excuses are for losers. If Toronto doesn’t win, then I think the core needs a shake up, and no one is more core than Sundin. I mean, you can cut out a paper Stanley Cup and plan the route on paper, but I just don’t think that sounds like as much fun.

    Or something.

    Just joking.

  11. It’s ok I get the point you’re trying to make. I just don’t think Sundin’s leadership is the reason the Leafs have failed to win the cup. It has a lot more to do with stupid penalties, bad defensive play, and too much reliance on above average goaltending.

  12. David,

    I’m too lazy to check, but I’d be willing to bet Adams, Adams, and Larose got less than 3 minutes of even strength ice time a game. Laviolette hated playing them. He also dressed a 7th defenseman on some nights. While Kevyn Adams and Chad Larose got PK time, I hardly think these two guys are the difference between winning and losing.

    Also, the psychological impact of Game 1 really hurt the Senators – and if they had a better goalie, they probably win that game and ultimately the series. I admit they’re psychologically fragile, but I still wouldn’t try to deal Alfredsson – not when he’s very unlikely to return significant help at this stage in the season.

  13. Kevin Adams: 8:18 minutes per game
    Chad Larose: 6:49
    Craig Adams: 6:12

    But crash and bangers and energy players aren’t just about ice time. It is about having someone to put out there when the team is getting a bit sluggish who can bang in the corners and throw a few hits and help get his team and their fans (if they are at home) energized and back into the game.

    “Also, the psychological impact of Game 1 really hurt the Senators – and if they had a better goalie, they probably win that game and ultimately the series. ”

    Maybe, though we don’t know. If one loss can demoralize a team that much who knows what else could have a similar effect.

  14. Kevyn Adams, Craig Adams, and Chad Larose were all large parts of the Hurricane’s Cup run last season.

    During the playoffs last season Kevyn Adams was on the ice for 11:43 a game, with 3:14 of PK time nightly. That’s 3rd most for their forwards after Brind’Amour and Williams.

    Chad Larose and Craig Adams were out there for 8:57 and 8:15 a game nightly. They also killed 2:01 and 1:55 of penalty time a night on average. Guess what, that ranks them 4th and 5th in PK time for forwards. So basically after Brind’Amour and Williams, those 3 players were the ‘Canes top PK forwards. They also happened to provide a lot of energy. They were valuable members of the team, and K. Adams had more minutes played per game than Andrew Ladd… who you also listed. No need to malign guys who were playing regular shifts and contributing.

  15. I wasn’t maligning them – I thought they got less ice time than they did. I knew they were out there for the PK. In earlier series’ they got less even strength ice time, that I do know.

    The Game 1 loss to the Sabres was one of the most devastating playoff losses I’ve ever seen – it is very difficult for a team to rally from that. The Devils had a similar loss in Round 2 also and never quite recovered.

  16. i agree to a certain extent. i think they do need a shakeup. the sens were cup contenders for a few years and have come up empty handed. so after a while u have to change something. alfie has been the constant. if u look at a team like florida, with jokinen as a constant. its not the same cuz florida wasnt a cup contender. once u reach that status, and u fail every year, something HAS to change. i always thought they should have traded alfredsson and not havlat. but whatever i wont go there.

    now i must say u really undervalue alfie. hes damn good. 100 point players arent picked off trees. there were 7 100 point players last season. so imo hes one of the top players in the league. obviously not a thornton, but i think alfie is more versatile than thornton, but less explosive. alfie kills penalties, is very very fast, mans the point on the PP, has a good one timer, and knows how to score. any team can use a guy like him.

    so if u want a good return, getting 2 or 3 lesser skilled players is not the way to go. unless u find a gem in the 2 or 3 guys, it will never pay off (excpetion the lindros dead — forsberg was the steal) but if u look at previous trades which fit this description, they just dont pan out. thornton is one. while primeau, stuart and sturm are all good players, having 1 thornton is better. then theres the infamous roy trade. thibault was a solid prospect and had lots of potential, then there was kovalenko and rucisnky, who werent bad players, they were all pretty good, but there combined value to the team wasnt as good. its always better to have that great player. theres only 1 alfredsson, 1 jagr, 1 crosby, 1 thornton, 1 luongo in the league, but the sturms, thibaults, allens, and so on, well u can find those players anywhere.

    that being said, i do like the alfie for perry and marchant CONCEPT. i personally think they could squeeze more from the ducks. the only reason i would MAYBE accecpt this is cuz i think perry can be that gem. perry with spezza and heatley could very well be an awesome line, with perry being cheap and young, and affordable.

    also, now that we live in the salary cap era, trends and general trade “concepts” should be thrown out the window cuz now saving cap space is just as important as getting a skilled player for nothing. so its kinda weird dealing with trades now.

  17. i also forgot to say that sundin shouldnt be exeempt from all this shake up talk. now its ok since the leafs arent expected to win anything. but a few years ago the leafs were one of the best teams in the league, and with sundin as their captain they went nowhere. now hes amazing and all but u cant say that sundin should get a free ride when alfie doesnt. now im not saying the leafs should trade sundin. but its just unfair that alfie gets criticized. i think both routes concerning alfie are OK. if u trade him, u better get a good return, cuz with that whole “new face thing” the sens MIGHT do well in the postseason. but then u can also argue the reason the sens lost YEAR after YEAR isnt because of alfredsson. i personally think muckler is MORE to blame. i mean sure alfie is a constant. and if u ask me right now i would trade alfie, but in june i would have done something different. the one other constant about the sens was this. goaltending. every year their goalies continue to let them down. muckler shouldnt have signed gerner and should have gone after a good goalie capable of winning games. if u ask me i would try and unload gerber right now, and trade alfredsson for nabakov or toskala or giguere or biron (unlikely, same division)or luongo would have been amazing but hes not going anywhere. the sens have a good Dcorps, and with good goaltending they could have been like the flames, to a certain extent, but have a much much better offensive game.

Comments are closed.