Former Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson hopes Erik Karlsson stays in Ottawa

Daniel Alfredsson admits the uncertainty about Erik Karlsson’s future is making things tough for Ottawa Senators fans.

For one day at least, two of the most prominent figures in Senators history were at the same venue in the capital region, as Karlsson watched Alfredsson compete in a local golf tournament on Tuesday. But with trade rumours swirling and the Senators dealing with all kinds of negative headlines in recent months, it’s possible Karlsson’s days with the organization are nearing an end.

“We haven’t talked a whole lot, but obviously we talk most days, it’s a difficult situation for everybody,” Alfredsson said. “There’s no question he’s a generational talent and definitely the best player that’s worn a Senators jersey and we’ll see what happens.”

The Karlsson speculation is just the latest issue facing the Senators. Karlsson’s wife, Melinda, filed a peace bond against Monika Caryk, the fiancee of former teammate Mike Hoffman, last month for alleged cyberbullying. Hoffman, traded last month, and Caryk have denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, assistant general manager Randy Lee is awaiting a court date for harassment charges in Buffalo and Alfredsson was quoted as saying he hopes the team gets a new owner to replace Eugene Melnyk earlier this year.

No comment from Karlsson

Alfredsson, who offered no comment on ownership on Tuesday, has exited the Senators organization twice — as a player and as an executive. But he says he’s hoping Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, sticks around.

“I know for me personally, I hope he stays,” Alfredsson said of his fellow Swede. “Both as a friend and being able to watch him on the ice, especially going into his prime.”


Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson has been the subject of trade rumours dating back to last season. (Ross D. Franklin/The Associated Press)

Karlsson did not talk to reporters on Tuesday. The Senators said they offered the 28-year-old captain an extension on Sunday, but there has been no indication whether the star defenceman is interested in remaining with Ottawa after his contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.

When Alfredsson and the organization couldn’t come to terms on an extension, the longtime captain left and played one season with the Detroit Red Wings. Losing the face of the franchise left many Senators fans stunned.

Now, fans are left wondering if they’re about to lose another captain. Alfredsson said he feels for his good friend and former teammate.

‘Don’t know what to think at this moment’

“The hard part is when he’s a good friend, you set aside the business part of it,” Alfredsson said. “Me and my family look at it selfishly — we want to be close to Erik regardless of what happens. To be honest, I don’t know what to think at this moment or what could happen. I’ve heard at the (trade) deadline it was close (to a deal), I heard after that it was close, so who knows. I’m sure he’ll call me if something happens.”

After retiring, Alfredsson returned to work with the organization as senior adviser of hockey operations, but left last summer with little explanation — leaving many to wonder the rationale behind his decision.

“It was a mutual decision with me and (general manager) Pierre (Dorion) and there was no hard feelings there at all,” said Alfredsson when asked if his departure had anything to do with Melnyk. “I’ve really enjoyed the last year in terms of being involved with the kids and staying home with the family so I have no regrets.”

Alfredsson believes the franchise can turn things around in time.

“I have no doubt they’re going to come back and be a consistent playoff team again,” he said. “I think the way the fans are in this city, they’re going to get behind the team and help out so I see that happening again for sure.”