Alfie has magic number

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:29 PM ET

The Senators without captain Daniel Alfredsson?

Hard to imagine.

That is why the Senators and the Alfredsson camp have entered into talks on a contract extension that would prevent Alfredsson from becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season.

If Alfredsson plays a minimum of 70 games this season and has a minimum of 70 points, he gains control of the option years of his current contract and could declare himself an unrestricted free agent. Given Alfredsson has enjoyed a rejuvenation since the lockout, ringing up 103, 87 and 89 points in the last three seasons, getting 70 seems about as close to a sure thing as you can get.

He played 77 games the first two years after the lockout and 70 last year.

After this season -- in which Alfredsson will make $5.465 million (all terms US) -- his contract has three option years that could potentially play him $3.8 million a year (they were originally for $5 million a year, but Alfredsson took a 24% pay cut as part of the new collective bargaining agreement).

If doesn't have a minimum of 70 points in 70 games this year, the Senators could have him for another season at $3.8 million, a bargain given his current level of production.

"I'm fine with it," when asked about his contract situation yesterday.

But Alfredsson likely doesn't want to go anywhere else at this point in his career and the Senators don't want to see him become a UFA. The logical thing to do is come up with a deal that makes everybody happy.

Senators GM Bryan Murray was recently contacted by Alfredsson's agent, J.P. Barry, to tell Murray that Alfredsson was interested in talking about an extension.

"The good news about that is Alfie wants to play longer, he wants to play for a few more years," said Murray, who has had at least one discussion with Alfredsson about a possible end to his career. "The year we went to the final (2007), he said to me, 'If we were to win, there might be a decision that has to be made for me.' It's nice to hear him talk now about what he's going to do moving forward."

It's expected Barry will get back to Murray next week to begin mapping out a framework on a new deal.

Alfredsson will be 36 in December, but he hasn't been showing any signs of slowing down. The knee injury and whiplash he suffered on a hit by Maple Leaf Mark Bell in the second-last regular-season game last season, which caused Alfredsson to miss the first two games of the playoffs, are healed.

"If I go back four or five years ago before the lock-out, I had a couple of seasons where I was really disappointed with my own play. Frustrated. (I) didn't see a long future for myself in this league. Where I am now, I feel more excited than I have in a long time. (It's) still a lot of fun for me, I feel I'm getting better. Not tired," Alfredsson said the other day.

"I feel I still, I hope I can improve and get better. You try to prepare yourself in the summer hoping the season ahead is the best you ever had. Obviously, if the team does well, it's a lot easier for the individuals to do well. We saw that early last year. I feel good."

"It's unbelievable how times have changed," said Murray. "I can remember when I was with the Washington Capitals and we looked at (defenceman) Rod Langway when he was 31 and he was past it."


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