I want to thank all the contestants for their patience throughout this process. I have yet to decided the best way to pick a winner and am open to suggestions from the readers. Should have one selected by the end of this week though.
With that said, here is the final submission. It comes from the same writer that contributed on week 1, Day 5 and it covers the subject of Daniel Alfredsson's case for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Enjoy!
Is Daniel Alfredsson a Hall of Famer?
This was a dangerous topic to choose. It’s bound to be polarizing, but it will no doubt generate a ton of debate in the comments section. When I first started thinking about this topic, my first reaction as a die-hard Sens fan was “Obviously! I mean…he’s Aflie! He should be in there already!” *high fives everyone he sees*. However, I figured that this was a little premature. Let me state my case.
Alfredsson was drafted in the 6th round, 133rd overall in the 1994 NHL Entry draft. His name was called by the Senators brass long after Radek Bonk (3rd overall), Stan Neckar (29th overall), and Bryan Masotta (who?). He has scored more points in his career than any other player drafted in the 1994 draft. 1000+ games played. 1000+ points scored. All by a little Swede who never thought he was going to play in the NHL.
Induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame is a difficult thing to predict. Much of it is based on career statistics, as well as individual awards, character, leadership abilities and number of Stanley Cups won. Induction is also based on what that player meant individually to the team they played for and where they stand in the history of that franchise.
So let’s break it down.
Alfredsson’s career statistics are impressive. In the NHL’s 93 year history only 78 players have broken the 1000 point barrier. Alfie is one of them. He is 11 goals shy of 400 and currently sits at 634 assists for an impressive grand total of 1023 points and counting. He holds the majority of Ottawa Senators records in most offensive stat categories including goals, assist and points.
Alfredsson’s first year as a Senator was a total revelation. He was named to the NHL All-Rookie team and went on to win the 1996 Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie, finishing with 26 goals and 35 assists, for a total of 61 points making him the only modern era Senator to earn a major award. The legend was born.
From that point on, Alfie’s career took off. With a quiet and unassuming personality off the ice, Alfredsson became a guiding light for a team building towards greatness. In the 1999-2000 season he was named captain during Alexi Yashin’s contract holdout. Since that season, no other player has worn the ‘C’ in Ottawa. He is the longest tenured captain currently playing in the league and is the longest serving European captain in the history of the NHL.
In the 2005-2006 season, Alfie was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward. He was also a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player on two separate occasions, the first in 2003-2004 (finishing second in voting) as well as in 2005-2006 (finishing fourth). On top of all this, he has been named to the All-Star team a total of 6 times (not including this upcoming season, where he will most definitely be named to the team when the game is held in Ottawa). The Hall of Fame also takes international play into consideration. Alfredsson is a 4 time Olympian, winning a Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics playing for Sweden. He has competed 6 times in the World Championships and twice in the World Cup of Hockey.
His leadership abilities are comparable to those of Steve Yzerman. Alfie leads by example. On and off the ice he is the prototype for all players around him to aspire to. He possesses an intimidating competitiveness that forces players around him to be better. And let’s not forget, the guy is tough as nails. He battles through injuries like they didn’t even happen. I mean, the guy had surgery on his knee and he ONLY MISSED ONE GAME! Alfie is just one of those guys who truly hates to lose. You can see it in his eyes and almost feel it come over you while watching him in post-game scrums, or when addressing the media after a long season in which expectations were not met.
You could sense the disappointment and heartbreak in his voice when hearing him speak of the loss at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. It didn’t matter to him that he and his line mates lead the league in Playoff scoring, or that he was the first European Captain to lead his team to an NHL Final. He just wanted to win. He wanted it for himself, for his teammates, for the city of Ottawa, and the fans who were so desperately yearning for it.
Some may say that Alfie is a borderline Hall of Famer. Some players have been ushered into The Hall with similar career statistics and some have been turned away. Other will say he doesn’t have enough hardware. No Stanley Cups, too few awards in his trophy case. But is this really the measuring stick for greatness? (see the Chris Osgood debate – 4 cups, average player).
What puts Alfredsson over the top is his place in Senators History. He is hands down the single most important player in the history of the franchise and that cannot be ignored. Alfie is to the Sens as Bobby Orr is to the Bruins, or Rocket Richard is to the Canadiens. He is our first true hero. He is the definition of Ottawa Senators hockey, and for that he should be considered our first modern era Hall of Famer.
When he retires in a few short years, a new Captain will be crowned in Ottawa. He will have the seemingly impossible expectations thrust upon him that Alfie effortlessly exceeded day in and day out. The comparisons will be endless, but this new captain should have only one mindset. Do it like Alfie and I’ll be OK.
Daniel Alfredsson has indeed set the bar quite high. Let’s face it, it could be quite a long time before another Senators captain is able to raise it a few notches higher. Alfredsson is a role model throughout the league. He truly embodies what it means to be an Ottawa Senator, but most importantly, he is OUR captain. Number 11 is the first true legend to emerge from our franchise, and for this reason, I feel that an induction into the Hall of Fame is both deserved and justified.