Saturday, June 15, 2024

Daniel Alfredsson returning to Senators bench as part of Travis Green’s coaching staff

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Hall of Famer Daniel Alfredsson is returning as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators for the 2024-25 season. 

Alfredsson was named as part of Travis Green’s bench staff on Tuesday, alongside new assistant coaches Mike Yeo and Nolan Baumgartner. The Senators also announced that Justin Peters, Ben Sexton and video coach Mike King would be returning to their respective roles. Peters took over as the goalie coach in January, while Sexton was promoted to the NHL coaching staff from AHL Belleville last September. 

“I’m very excited to work with this group,” Green said in a statement. “I think it represents a great combination of knowledge, coaching experience, youthfulness and playing experience, all of which are integral components to a coaching staff’s success. I’m of firm belief that we’ll be able to proactively collaborate as a group in the name of team success while establishing a winning culture.”

Green was named Ottawa’s head coach on May 9, a hiring that drew an initial round of criticism from many Ottawa fans. 

But Alfredsson’s endorsement of the new head coach — and his decision to join his staff — will likely carry some weight with Green’s skeptics. Alfredsson was the longest-serving captain in franchise history and is almost universally embraced and respected by Ottawa fans. He had two previous messy and awkward divorces from the franchise, with each departure leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of the fan base. 

Alfredsson’s role for the upcoming season, however, was somewhat in limbo heading into this offseason.

He rejoined the organization last fall, but the club did not define a firm title for him at the time. He handled a hybrid role that fell somewhere between player development and coaching. But Alfredsson was thrust into assistant coaching duties in the middle of December when he joined Jacques Martin’s bench staff following the firing of D.J. Smith. It was unclear how Alfredsson would be utilized in the 2024-25 season, but Tuesday’s announcement cements the fact he’ll play a significant role on the coaching staff. 

“Daniel’s wealth of hockey knowledge, his mindset as it relates to a standard we want to incorporate and his understanding of what it takes to win make him an invaluable complement to both our staff and to our team,” said Green.

Yeo had spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks under both Bruce Boudreau and Rick Tocchet. Last week, the Canucks announced the team and Yeo had agreed to mutually part ways. The 50-year-old Yeo has spent parts of nine seasons as a head coach in the NHL with Minnesota, St. Louis and Philadelphia. He compiled a 263-217-62 record (.542 points percentage) in 542 games as an NHL head coach, taking his teams to the playoffs on four separate occasions. Yeo started his NHL career as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005-06 and captured a Stanley Cup behind their bench in 2009. 

Baumgartner has been a staple next to Green behind the bench at the professional level. He served as Green’s assistant coach for four seasons with the Canucks, and the two previously worked together for four seasons with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica. Baumgartner, 48, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL. A first-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1994, he also appeared in 143 games as a defenceman in the NHL.  

“We’re pleased to welcome both Nolan and Mike as new members of the Senators’ organization,” general manager Steve Staios said in the statement. “In addition to Daniel, Ben, Justin and Mike’s respective return, we’re confident that this coaching staff represents a strong blend of experience and one that will provide Travis with high-level support while they collectively lead our team going forward.”

(Photo of Daniel Alfredsson: Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images)

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