The Ottawa Senators expect to hear from Daniel Alfredsson before this weekend on their captain's plan for next season, and general manager Bryan Murray said Tuesday he expects the 40-year-old to return to the team.
"I have a feeling he wants to play," Murray told the team's website.
The GM said an answer would come prior the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).
"We'll have an answer before the weekend I believe," Murray said. "I've had a real good meeting with Daniel before he left to go back to Sweden. He gave me sort of a time frame, and hopefully by before the draft I will have a chance to at least understand what he's thinking, and whether we make the final decision or he does at that time, but I'll have I believe a good indication."
After the Senators were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins in late May, Alfredsson said he wanted to determine if he was willing to put in the summertime work necessary for him to play another season.
"That was certainly something that he wanted to look at again further," Murray said. "Whether that will be the final answer or not, I don't know at this point. But he felt good when he talked to me, he said he felt healthy; he hadn't worked out much. He wanted to do that starting this week, and I think that was all he was kind of waiting for, to feel good about another summer of working hard and getting ready for a hockey season, but as I said, he didn't want to give me an answer until he had at least started that process."
Alfredsson had 26 points in 47 games this season, and 10 in 10 playoff games. The 17-season veteran will turn 41 in December.
Alfredsson, the NHL's longest serving active captain (since 1999-2000), won the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the 2012-13 season. Murray said he and the right wing agreed the intangibles he would bring to the dressing room, especially on an up-and-coming team, would be valuable, but Alfredsson wants to continue to play at a high level.
"He doesn't want to be a player that is just hanging on," Murray said. "He wants to be a player that can contribute, and I agree with that. For his sake, and for people that watch him play, he wants to be able to give it at a good level, and then based on if he feels he can do that, he'll, I believe, continue to play."
Alfredsson can become an unrestricted free agent on July 5; he has said he can't see himself playing for another team. Murray said he wouldn't try to talk Alfredsson into returning.
"I'm not going to do that," Murray said. "I think that if you get into a debate about playing or not playing, I don't think that helps the process at all. I think it's simply up to him to make a decision that he can contribute and he feels good about it and that's he's able to do it. If that's the case, then I'd want him to play, but I'm certainly going to wait for him to make the decision. I'm not going to pursue it until I get the call."
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