Although the regular season was called all but over on Sunday, March 15, and the Ottawa Senators would not have made the playoffs this season, it wasn’t as if the Senators didn’t have some good things happen during the 2019-20 season. Most people knew that the Senators were going through a rebuilding season, and that indeed was the case.
Still, young players like Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot played well and are beginning to form a base for the team to grow. In this post, I want to take a look at some of the greatest Senators of the past and outline some of the careers of these great Senators’ players.
The three I have chosen as the best Senator players of all time are right-winger Daniel Alfredsson, defenseman Erik Karlsson, and center Jason Spezza. Alfredsson is now retired, but Karlsson and Spezza remain playing in the NHL – Karlsson with the San Jose Sharks and Spezza with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the notes below, I will outline some of the key attributes of these players and also spend some time remarking about their production and play within the Senators’ organization.
Top Three Ottawa Senators’ Players of All-Time
#1: Daniel Alfredsson: Right Wing
Daniel Alfredsson spent 18 seasons with the Senators and one final season with the Detroit Red Wings. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, he was the longest-serving captain of the team, serving in that capacity from 1999-2013.
Alfredsson usually played on the top-three forward unit, having his greatest success with center Jason Spezza and left-winger Dany Heatley. He also played on the point on the Senators’ power-play unit.
Alfredsson was skilled both on the offensive and the defensive end of the ice and was one of the NHL’s top two-way players. He holds the Senators’ franchise records for goals (426), assists (682), and points (1,108) – all being scored in the 1,178 games he played with the team. On October 22, 2010, he became the 75th player to reach 1000 NHL points that he scored as part of a hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres.
Not only was Alfredsson a great hockey player, but he was also one of the NHL’s good-guys. In 2016, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (the Doctor of Laws) from Ottawa’s Carleton University. In this degree, he was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Canadian hockey and his commitment to the community through philanthropic efforts that included helping people become more aware of mental health issues and serving as an advocate “for equality for athletes, regardless of their sexual orientation.” Alfredsson notes that he is most proud of his work in Ottawa fighting the stigma of mental illness and that his work has helped people talk more openly about mental health issues.
Alfredsson won the NHL’s Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1996, and also was awarded two NHL leadership awards – the 2012 King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the 2013 Mark Messier Leadership Award.
#2: Erik Karlsson: Defenseman
Erik Karlsson was born in Landsbro, Sweden, and became a Senators’ player when he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He spent nine seasons with the Senators, and during that time twice won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman (in 2012 and 2015).
Karlsson was the leader and go-to guy while he played in Ottawa. The Senators’ system was built around him and he was the dressing-room leader as well. In nine seasons with the team, he scored 126 goals and 394 assists for 520 points. He was ranked 102nd of the best players of all-time in the NHL and 23rd of the best defensemen in NHL history.
#3: Jason Spezza: Center
Jason Spezza was born in Mississauga, Ontario, and has played for the Senators, the Dallas Stars, and now plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was the second overall selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Senators. Like both Alfredsson and Karlsson, he became team captain. Actually, his term as captain was sandwiched between the two and he served the season after Alfredsson was traded to the Red Wings.
During the NHL lockout of 2004-05, he was young enough to play with the Binghamton Senators and won the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP. Interestingly, the following season he set a Senators’ franchise record with 71 assists and hit the 90-point milestone for the first of two times in his NHL career. His career totals with all teams are 341 goals, 599 assists (940) points in 1123 games.
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