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Alfredsson could join Senators' front office, but not right now

12/05/2014 07:00 EST | Updated 02/04/2015 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - Now that Daniel Alfredsson's playing career is over, Chris Phillips doesn't expect the former Senators captain to be idle for too long.

"He'll be in some kind of venture, business, hockey, where there's winners or losers," Phillips said. "That's just how he's made up."

Alfredsson rejoining the Senators in a front-office capacity has long been speculated. That may happen at some point down the road, but a decision on that isn't coming now or in the near future.

"The future may hold some role for me in hockey again, but not this year," Alfredsson said. "This is one for my family, for my own life and for reflecting on where we've been and deciding on what's next."

Alfredsson wouldn't be the first player to go from wearing the "C" on his chest as the face of a franchise to helping run it. Steve Yzerman spent four seasons as vice-president of the Detroit Red Wings before moving on to become general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Similarly, Trevor Linden this past summer was named president of the Vancouver Canucks and Ron Francis general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Joe Sakic took on GM duties in addition to being executive vice-president of the Colorado Avalanche.

During Alfredsson's retirement news conference, the first question asked was about his future plans. He gave the same answer repeatedly throughout his day of interviews.

"It's still so early on in this process," Alfredsson said. "I've spent the last few months or since the summer just trying to make it work to play another season. I've come to this decision to retire. What's going to happen next we haven't gotten into that and I don't really know. I'm going to try to take a step back and evaluate what the next chapter is going to be."

Alfredsson is still living in suburban Detroit after signing with the Red Wings for his final season. He sold his Ottawa home at that point as his family moved to the United States.

Still, the 41-year-old from Goteborg, Sweden, called Ottawa his family's "adopted hometown." If the family settles in Ottawa instead of living in Sweden full-time, a job with the Senators could be in the cards.

There have been at least basic, preliminary discussions, according to owner Eugene Melnyk.

"Our door is always open," Melnyk said. "I've talked to (general manager Bryan Murray) about this, we've talked to Daniel about it. He certainly can contribute in many, many ways, but it's up to him what he wants to do. As far as we're concerned, our door is open to speak to him about a future role."

The Senators' front office has undergone changes in the past year. Tim Murray, who worked under his uncle, left to become GM of the Buffalo Sabres, and Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee were promoted to assistant GMs.

Murray is signed through the 2015-16 season, but five months ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Murray, who turned 72 Friday, recently revealed that doctors told him there was no cure for him as he had been living with it for seven to 10 years and it has spread to his liver and lungs.

Health aside, the Senators were going to need a successor for Murray in 2016. Alfredsson would not factor into that plan so soon.

But Murray does believe Alfredsson would bring a strong skill-set to a hockey-operations department.

"Experience, obviously," Murray said. "You just heard him answer about (at his retirement news conference) how curious he is about learning to be a player, to get better as a player, to provide leadership as a player. That's what he brings. Work ethic, leadership ability. Obviously he would bring a great deal to an organization."

The Senators only have a handful of players left who spent much time as a teammate of Alfredsson's. Among them, Phillips may have signed his last contract with Ottawa at the age of 36, 35-year-old forward Chris Neil has two years left and 33-year-old goaltender Craig Anderson just signed a three-year extension.

Captain and 2012 Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Erik Karlsson, a close friend of Alfredsson, is different. He'll only be 29 when his current contract expires in 2019.

If Alfredsson were to work for the Senators, that would be right in the wheel house of him wielding some influence. Asked on Ottawa's TSN 1200 how fun it would be to negotiate a deal with Karlsson, Alfredsson joked, "It might be the end of our relationship."

Alfredsson then said on the radio station that him staying in the game doesn't have to be limited to involvement with the Senators.

"I think the great thing about hockey and it goes pretty much worldwide: it's a great culture," Alfredsson said. "If you do work, even if it's not on the pro level, there's so many good things that you learn and experience in hockey."

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