Tonight the Senators play their third preseason game at home against their long-time rival the Montreal Canadiens.
The team is elated to have their captain back in uniform after missing the final 28 games of 2010-11 season due to a back injury that forced him to have surgery in June.
According to Alfredsson, training camp has been going quite well. He said, “the scrimmages, battling drills in practice and lots of skating as we have been doing, to be able to do it two or three days in a row, that's a good sign.”
So now that Alfredsson is back, what can we expect from the Senators captain, who will be 39 years old in December? Well, it is hard to imagine that Alfredsson can return to the point-per-game form he has enjoyed his whole career (1,023 points in 1,056 games).
That being said, most of his value will come in the locker room, practice and video room. His knowledge and experience of the game will be vital to the many young budding stars on the Senators including fellow Swede Erik Karlsson.
Alfredsson still has the talent to be able to score 25 goals, which he has not done since the 2007-08 campaign, if he remains healthy. He will also always be an asset on the power-play.
He had his first season in the negatives (+/- of -19) since his rookie year of 1995-96. That doesn’t say much about his ability, but he, like most of the Senators, must focus on the defensive aspect of the game as the team will not outscore many opponents. New coach Paul MacLean will be sure to implement a much more defensive scheme.
So now that Alfie is back, Senator fans can enjoy seeing their captain lace up his skates for one more year.
If Alfie plays 70+ games I expect:
22 goals 30 assists 52 points and 22 power-play points
His plus-minus won’t improve much on a team that is destined for the bottom of the standings, but if he can help the young players develop, then he has done his job as the captain of the franchise and its most beloved player of all-time.