The Ottawa Senators will retire Daniel Alfredsson’s No. 11 in Ottawa on Thursday evening, making him the first modern-era player to have his number retired by the franchise.
It was a no-brainer decision by the Senators to retire Alfredsson’s number. After all, he’s the franchise’s all-time leader in goals, assist and points, and he was the face of the franchise from nearly the moment he stepped onto the stage to accept the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1995-96.
Alfredsson has already had his send off with the Senators, signing a one-day contract with the team and retiring a Senator after taking a few final laps during the pre-game warmup in December 2014, but as great an honor as that was, there are few things that mean more — or are more lasting — than a retired jersey.
In honor of Alfredsson having his No. 11 raised to the rafters Thursday night, here are five of the most memorable goals from Alfredsson’s career:
5. The goal that started it all — Oct. 13, 1995
No one could have known the impact Alfredsson would make in his rookie season, especially with him having been selected 133rd overall in the 1994 draft. If anything, it was Radek Bonk, who had been selected third overall the year prior, who was expected to be the rookie hope of the 1995-96 campaign in Ottawa.
But after picking up an assist in his first game as a Senator, Alfredsson found the score sheet again in Game Two, this time with his first career tally. Alfredsson would then rack up another five assists over the next three games en route to finishing the season with 26 goals, 35 assists and 61 points — all bests on the Senators roster. He picked up the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, and a star was born in Ottawa.
4. Hit and goal become major talking point in Battle of Ontario — May 6, 2002
In what may very well be the most iconic moment from the most heated days of the Battle of Ontario, Alfredsson became both a villain to one fan base and a hero to the other in less than 10 seconds.
With the play along the right wing boards, Alfredsson levelled Darcy Tucker with a hit that could have easily been penalized. The hit went uncalled, Alfredsson made his way to the front of the net and banged home what would stand as the game-winning goal to give Ottawa a 2-1 series lead. The Maple Leafs got the last laugh, however, winning the series in seven games.
3. An overtime winner for goal No. 400 — Dec. 30, 2011
Alfredsson had somewhat of a flair for the dramatic over the course of his career, scoring 73 game winners in his career and another 11 in the post-season. Of those goals, two were clutch overtime winners in the post-season and a handful were sudden-death winners during the regular season.
The most notable of those regular season OT winners came just two seasons before he hung his skates up for good when he absolutely walloped a one-timer past Calgary Flames goaltender Leland Irving to net goal No. 400.
2. Nets 1,000th point and completes hat trick with empty-netter — Oct. 22, 2010
It’s not memorable in the sense that it was all that challenging a goal, but it’s the importance of the goal that really makes the moment.
At the time Alfredsson completed his hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres — who appear on this list again at No. 1 — he became just the 75th player in league history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. In the years since, another eight players have joined the ranks
1. Alfie sends the Senators to the Stanley Cup final — May 19, 2007
This is the goal Senators fans will forever remember Alfredsson for, and it’s fitting that of all players to be the one to score in overtime to send Ottawa to their first — and still only — Stanley Cup final appearance in history, it wound up being Alfredsson who potted the tally.
It’s not as if he did it in any simple manner, either. After picking the puck up in the neutral zone, Alfredsson went head-on into a one-on-three situation, muscled the puck into a scoring position and slapped at the puck to rifle on by then-Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller.
Aflredsson was immediately mobbed by teammates, as the overtime goal had propelled the Senators, already leading the series 3-1, to the Eastern Conference championship.
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