Alfie a Sen 'for life'?

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Talks are continuing quietly on a new contract for Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The two sides have been kicking over how long the new deal will run and seem to be getting close to deciding on a term (four years?). Once that's in place, they can talk numbers.

It seems everyone has agreed where the finish line is: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wants Alfredsson to be a "Senator for life," and Alfredsson wants to finish his career here. Getting to that finish line isn't quite as easy given the market conditions and restrictions of the CBA.

Background for those who might have missed it: Alfredsson has three one-year options after this season. If he plays 70 games and gets 70 points this season, he gets control of the options and can declare himself an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn't, the Senators could have him for just $3.8 million (all terms US), but that's not going to happen.

If it's going to be a four-year deal, the next step is how the money will be distributed. It will likely be front-loaded to make sure Alfredsson is compensated at something close to market value for the first couple of years of the deal, then dropping significantly for the last two years (when Alfredsson would be 38 and you would think, with a normal human being, his production would also decline. After seeing him come back from knee surgery in a week, normal doesn't apply in his case).

Stretching the deal out in this situation lessens the yearly hit on the salary cap, since the cap hit is an average of the players' yearly compensation.

That would give Senators GM Bryan Murray more flexibility each year while making sure Alfredsson is properly compensated for the next couple of years.

But there has to be a little thought put into that because of something known as "the 100% rule" in the CBA. Under article 50.7 of the CBA, a player basically can't get more than a 100% raise year-to-year and -- important in this case -- can't get a pay cut year-to-year that exceeds more than 50% of the lowest salary of the first two years of a multi-year deal.

For example, if Alfredsson signed a four-year deal that was to pay him $8 million the first year and $7 million in the second, his salary could be cut a maximum of $3.5 million in the final two years of the deal. He would have to make at least $3.5 million in the third. There's no limit on the cut for the fourth year.

With that type of deal, the cap hit would be just over $5 million a year, which gives Murray the flexibility he's probably looking for in this instance.

Also making things interesting is the fact that Alfredsson is 35, so, barring a career-ending injury, whatever deal he signs with the Senators is going to stay on their books and count toward their salary cap for the duration of the deal whether Alfredsson plays it all out or not.

I'd say he's a pretty good gamble.

HEAR AND THERE

He is but 11 days removed from knee surgery, but Alfredsson was out there on the ice yesterday long after most of his teammates had retreated to the dressing room after practice. Alfredsson was working on his one-timers with assistant coach Curtis Hunt. "Put it off my right skate," said Alfredsson after Hunt drifted a couple of pitches off the plate ... A Florida source said one player in which the Senators were interested in acquiring in the off-season was Panthers W David Booth, but Florida GM Jacques Martin wouldn't part with him.

JUST WONDERING

Funny how much focus there has been on leading scorer Jason Spezza (is it a demotion, it is breathlessly asked) playing with Nick Foligno and Jesse Winchester in the latest line shakeups by coach Craig Hartsburg and how little there has been on the fact centre Mike Fisher -- who inherited Spezza's spot between Dany Heatley and Alfredsson -- and W Antoine Vermette have combined for, umm, let's see here ... one point.


Videos

Photos