HHOF Profile: Daniel Alfredsson

The HHOF Narratives 🎭

  • Big Proponent: “A consistently lethal scoring threat, leader, 13-year captain and two-way force raised the Senators franchise to relevance and carried Sweden to Olympic gold.”
  • Big Opponent: “Overrated forward with no signature seasons or meaningful hardware beyond his rookie year never led underachieving Senators to a Stanley Cup win.”

The Basics 🏒

  • Position: Forward (Right Wing)
  • NHL Teams: Ottawa, Detroit
  • NHL Career: 18 seasons (1995-2014)
  • First Eligible for HHOF: 2017
  • HHOF Status: Inducted (2022)

The Hardware 🏆

  • On-Ice Honours: All-Star: 2nd-Team (’06), ’96 Calder, ’96 All-Rookie
  • Off-Ice Honours: ’12 Clancy, ’13 Messier
  • Stanley Cups: 0; Finals: 1 (’07)
  • International (best-on-best): representing Sweden
    • 5 x Olympian: 1 x Gold (’06), 1 x Silver (’14)
    • 2 x World Cup

The Statistics 💻

  • 7-Year Peak: Adjusted Pace of 40/57/97

The High Noon Card 📈

A common and valid criticism of some HHOFers is that their greatest heights were only “very good” and not truly great. Anecdotally, Daniel Alfredsson may feel like that player. The data, however, shows it’s just not the case.

A late bloomer, Alfie debuted in his age-23 season, earning the Calder. He did not crack the league’s top 30 forwards until the ranking period covering ages 27-29 of his career. However, both Ottawa’s captain and its franchise were destined for an extended stay as prominent fixtures in the league. Alfredsson reached #4 in the NHL at the end of 2006-07, trailing only teammate Dany Heatley (not a typo!), Jaromir Jagr, and Joe Thornton. In all, Alfredsson would spend eight straight seasons in the league’s top 20 forwards through his age-37 season, with a lost lockout season amidst this impressive run. Overall, the High Noon ranking system is kind to Alfredsson’s HHOF candidacy.

The PPS Card 📊

The PPS System and its assignment of HHOF tiers are a starting point. You’ll read this a lot. Unless a player is comfortably above or below the standard, each case requires further consideration beyond the data. With a PPS of 276, Alfredsson finds himself beyond that comfort zone, exceeding the standard by +41 under PPS. Only two eligible forwards that rank above Alfie remain unelected — one ahead by +8 (i.e., 284) and the other ahead by only +0.2 (in a virtual tie at 276). This indicates the respected Swede was undoubtedly one of the best forwards sitting outside the Hall’s plaque room at the time of his election.

By staying healthy and consistent for 15.6 Adjusted Seasons, Alfredsson scores well on each of the main three factors of PPS — Career (84), Pace (81), and Peak (102). Those marks rank 30th, 46th, and 43rd among every forward with a career principally after the 1967 expansion. This is a very balanced case, with no dependency on playing extremely long, dominating short-term, or relying on large PPS bonuses to bolster his candidacy. Players with these types of careers are often overlooked and underappreciated athletes, never retiring with gaudy stats or having a scintillatingly memorable stretch.

The Comparisons 🔍

A quick look around Alfredsson among Era 4 forwards by PPS shows some intriguing cases. Pavel Datsyuk (279), eligible in 2024 if he is indeed retired, has the magic, reputation and trophy case to excite both the Selection Committee and yours truly.

The player noted earlier essentially tied with Alfredsson is Pierre Turgeon (276). With nearly identical neutralized production over a comparably long career, Turgeon matches Alfie without that valuable +10 international bonus. Maybe it was Alfredsson’s playing style, or his reputation as the steadying leader of a single franchise (yes, we’re all trying to forget that Red Wings stint), but Alfredsson has inspired more enthusiasm than Turgeon. This is where the incalculable portion of a HHOF case emerges. I’ll often reference the wiggle room you should allow for comparable players on top of the data-driven approach. Alfredsson and Turgeon illustrate this nicely. The pair are an interesting contrast that might help us navigate future borderline cases; however, both these guys are miles above any borders.

Just “below” Alfredsson are Paul Kariya (276) and Keith Tkachuk (275), all more or less tied for our purposes. Kariya’s flash, burgeoning role on the marketable Mighty Ducks expansion franchise, and incredible career Adjusted Pace of 86 PTS have edged the hard-nosed Tkachuk in the minds of the Committee. Tkachuk, a highly viable HHOF candidate, has a sensational Adjusted Pace of 39 goals per season — the 16th-best neutralized goal scorer ever among players with 10+ Adjusted Seasons. Yes, 16th!

I’ve gotten into detail on the comparisons to highlight the broader point that the PPS methodology (or any other formula) can’t separate players with such similar careers. All five of these stars have or would enhance the HHOF standard for Era 3 & 4 forwards. When players are separated by so little in PPS, this is where the distinction is best made by following your instinct or memory as to who may be slightly better. Ultimately, these are all outstanding HHOF-caliber forwards that should eventually be elected, each underrated publicly by playing part or all of their career in low scoring environments.

The Deep Dive 🤿

HHOFer Arguments:

  • Alfredsson’s 7-year peak equates to an Adjusted Pace of 40/57/97, indisputably outstanding production — while maintaining a strong defensive reputation (finished as high as 4th in Selke voting).
  • A victim of lower offensive times historically, Alfredsson’s solid career totals rise by 48 goals (to 492, near the hallowed 500-goal mark) and 104 points when adjusted for era. This does not include the lost lockout season.
  • Alfredsson is one of only 16 players in history to play 15+ Adjusted Seasons and maintain an Adjusted Pace of 80+ PTS (per 82 GP).
  • Alfredsson reached #4 in the NHL in High Noon forward rankings, staying in the top 20 for eight consecutive years.
  • Alfredsson led the playoffs in goals (14) and points (22) in Ottawa’s ’07 run to the Cup finals, finishing his career with 100 playoff points.
  • While a short event, Alfredsson led Sweden in scoring (5 goals, 5 assists) on the path to Olympic gold in Turin, his country’s only best-on-best international title.
  • The HHOF’s website plainly states its selection attributes to include “sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general.” A 13-year captain and winner of two NHL leadership awards, Alfredsson’s career is bolstered by his positive off-ice reputation.
  • Further on the intangible side, Alfredsson was a character — his trademark hairstyles and candid approach made him an original. Sorry for all the compliments, Leafs fans.

NOT a HHOFer Arguments:

  • Alfredsson’s on-ice NHL honours and trophy case are light — a Calder where he was three and four years older than the other two finalists, and a single year-end second-team All Star nod at RW.
  • Despite leading a host of Senators’ teams with realistic Cup aspirations, Alfredsson got past the second round just twice, losing their only final (’07 to Anaheim).

The Verdict 🚦

Without question, Daniel Alfredsson has been an underrated talent, an excellent HHOF choice, and fully deserving of his selection.

Eras, Adjusted Pace data, High Noon, PPS System, High Noon & PPS Player Cards from Adjusted Hockey;
All other data from Hockey-Reference.com

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