Daniel Alfredsson has done battle on the ice with the Ottawa Senators for the past 16 seasons.
Most recently he helped lead the team’s unlikely run to the playoffs this year.
While Alfredsson has yet to make a decision about his status, if you ask rookie Senators head coach Paul MacLean the Ottawa captain will continue to be an integral part of the team’s nucleus for the foreseeable future.
In an interview with Hockey Night in Canada Radio hosts Gord Stellick and Cassie Campbell-Pascall on Tuesday, MacLean revealed his desire for the Swedish veteran to stick around next season — on or off the ice.
"…One thing we do know for sure is Daniel's going to be [with the Senators]'" said MacLean, "whether he's playing, or he's on the bench with me, or he's in the office with [Ottawa general manager] Bryan Murray, Daniel's going to be here and he’s going to be a big part of helping us continue to build this program."
Following a season where the No. 8-seeded Senators took the first-place New York Rangers to seven games in Round 1 of the playoffs, MacLean said he learned that Alfredsson shared the same vision for the team heading forward, something the coach values heavily.
When he sat down at the start of the year with his captain, he found out they were on the same page.
"The original conversation I had was with Daniel Alfredsson, and I felt that conversation was real positive," said MacLean. "He was really open about what he felt the team needed and what direction they needed to have from his point of view.
"It just so happened that our opinions coincided. There were a couple of things that were different but we were both in agreement on how the team should play and how we should talk about the team playing."
Those types of discussions were influential in helping to establish his team’s identity moving forward, something MacLean — a finalist for the Jack Adams award as top coach — believes is an essential part of coaching.
"For me, communication and empowering my players is a really important part of my coaching style and I think that was something the players immediately embraced," MacLean said.
Alfredsson was one player who embraced his role, showing no signs of wear-and-tear during the regular season en route to scoring 27 goals and 32 assists in 75 games.
In fact, the veteran recently joined forces with Team Sweden for the upcoming IIHF world hockey championship — co-hosted by Sweden and Finland.
MacLean views his departure for the tournament as a positive.
"Well I think the fact he’s gone over to Sweden to play in the world championships." said MacLean "That’s a positive thing that he wants to keep playing and he feels like he’s got gas in the tank and he wants to compete."