LAS VEGAS -- If 41-year-old forward Daniel Alfredsson takes care of his back problems this summer, the Detroit Red Wings will welcome him back next season. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday that the order can't be the other way because of the uncertainty regarding Alfredsson's injury.
Alfredsson can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but Babcock said if he plays next season he will play for the Red Wings.
"[Alfredsson] had a tough time last year staying healthy, so it's real hard to commit to a guy when he doesn't know for sure," Babcock said from the red carpet for the 2014 NHL Awards. "We'd love to have him. We'd love for him to get healthy, but at this point things haven't turned in the right direction for him. We'll see what happens."
Babcock said the goal is to have him in training camp, but he's not sure if he will come in under contract, if he comes in at all. He said the Red Wings do not think Alfredsson requires any surgery.
"He's going to continue to go and then we'll work something out," Babcock said. "He's not going anywhere else. He's coming to Detroit if he's coming. He's not under contract with us yet, but we know where he lives. He's gotta get fixed before we do anything."
Alfredsson finished tied for the team lead last season with 49 points, but he struggled with injuries stemming from his back problems. He did not play in Games 3 and 4 of the Red Wings' five-game first-round series loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.