DETROIT — Daniel Alfredsson wanted an exciting chapter to end his career.
And he hopes to write it as a Detroit Red Wing.
“I've been in Ottawa my whole career and (was) looking to try something new and exciting, get to a team that plays an exciting style,” Alfredsson said. “It was a real intriguing challenge for me.”
Alfredsson begins his new journey for that elusive Stanley Cup Wednesday as the Wings open the season at home against the Buffalo Sabres.
He'll start on a line with newly acquired center Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen.
Alfredsson, 40, signed a one-year worth $3.5 million on the first day of free agency, leaving Ottawa where he had spent his entire 17-year career prior. He had been the league's longest serving captain until the move.
The signing took the locker room by surprise.
“The reason people say that is because it happened so quick,” said Alfredsson, who'll also get $2 million bonus if he plays 10 games. “There was no talk before, me leaving and I wasn't even thinking about it either. My negotiations really didn't go where I wanted and we got to the point where there was a two-day window where teams could talk to other players and I still hadn't explored in my own head the idea of going somewhere else. My agent called me and said there are several teams that wanted to talk to me and I told him I would to see what they had to say.”
Alfredsson had a lengthy conversation with Wings coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland and it was there he was sold on coming to Detroit.
“That's when I really started thinking about trying something different,” Alfredsson said. “I'm at the end of my career and I won't have too many opportunities like this again. That's how it started. I myself can't say I was shocked, but it was a decision I wouldn't have thought would have been in the works a week earlier.”
Alfredsson plays a two-way game and provides a right-handed shot on the power play. He can also kill penalties.
“I expect myself to contribute offensively and be a player that's dependable in all situations,” Alfredsson said. “If I had to rate myself I'd say I'm not good at anything and I'm not bad at anything. I can do it all, but I'm not the best in the world at anything.”
What has impressed Alfredsson, who had 10 goals and 16 assists in 47 games last season, the most about the Wings throughout his career is well the teams possess the puck and play with speed and determination.
“Two years ago we played here to begin the year and we didn't see the puck a whole lot,” Alfredsson recalled. “So far when we've been playing and playing well we've had the puck and controlling the play.”
Alfredsson will be the seventh Swede in Detroit's locker room joining Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Gustavsson.
“You have to prove yourself again,” said Alfredsson, who has 426 goals and 682 assists in 1,178 career games. “I was extremely comfortable and taking good care of in Ottawa. We were set. We led a great life. I look at this as a challenge for me personally and professionally, but also for us as a family. You make a change and you have to adapt and grow as people.”
Weiss, who spent 11 seasons in Florida, is also chasing the Cup and chose Detroit this offseason, signing a five-year deal worth $24.5 million.
He was the playmaking center the Wings coveted after not meeting Valtteri Filppula's salary demands.
“In Florida I felt like if it wasn't me on every given night we were going to have a tough time winning,” Weiss said. “Here, there is more balance of scoring and guys that can get the job done.”
Alfredsson did reach the finals with the Senators in 2007, falling in five games to Anaheim. Weiss has been in the playoffs just once with the Panthers, in 2012, losing in seven games to New Jersey.
“Bringing in guys that haven't won it and have played in the league for a long time, of course they're hungry and want to do it for the first time,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Both Alfie and Weiss are world-class hockey players. They're going to help us.”