Alfie to stay in Ottawa

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson will retire a Senator.

"My heart is in Ottawa," Alfredsson said. "Ottawa has really become my hometown."

Prior to last night's game against the Panthers, Alfredsson, 35, signed a four-year, $21.6-million US extension with owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray on hand.

"All those little kids with Alfredsson jerseys can keep them," Melnyk said with a big grin. "With (yesterday's) signing, I delivered on a promise to our fans and to Daniel that I would make him a Senator for life."

As first reported by Sun Media on Wednesday, Alfredsson's agent, J.P. Barry, burned the midnight oil with Murray to get a deal in place by morning to keep Alfredsson from having the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Now, Alfredsson, who has a no-movement clause, has one goal before his deal expires: To win a Stanley Cup in Ottawa.

"That's the ultimate goal. There's no question," Alfredsson said. "I'm in the last third of my career and the window is not going to allow me to get too many more opportunities. The experience we had going to finals (in 2007), was my best experience in hockey.

"We just want to give ourselves a chance to win here and put ourselves in a good position by getting into the playoffs every year. I think if we're able to do that, then we're going to have as good a chance as anybody. That would obviously be the pinnacle of my career to win a Cup."

The Senators and Alfredsson wanted to remove any doubt about his future. He could have opted to become an unrestricted free agent next summer if he had played in 70 games and scored 70 points this season, but Melnyk and Murray didn't want to risk it.

With Alfredsson making an average of $5.4 million per season, the deal will allow the Senators to keep their core of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher intact, even if the $56.7-million cap goes down.

"We had to get it done. We wanted to get it done. They were co-operative and Alfie was the push for that," Murray said. "He wanted to stay. That was the key right there."

Melnyk said keeping Alfredsson always was part of the plan.

"It's very important for us and equally important for the player," Melnyk said. "Now, he doesn't have to worry about it. The way his previous contract was, he had to play a certain number of games and he had to get a certain number of points ... I don't care who you are, that's distracting."


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