Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has decided to return for a 17th National Hockey League (NHL) season after spending months pondering whether he was up for the grind of another campaign, the team said on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old Swede, a six-time All-Star who has spent his entire NHL career with the Senators, had said in April he needed time to determine his hockey future following his team's first-round, seven-game playoff loss to the New York Rangers.
"I'm excited to get ready for another season," Alfredsson, who won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Turin Games, said in a statement.
"I've been training for about a month and a half, and my body feels a lot further ahead of where it was last year at this point. I expect to come into camp stronger and fitter than I did last year."
Alfredsson, taken by Ottawa in the sixth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, was the NHL's top rookie for the 1995-96 season and is the team's all-time leader in games played (1,131), goals (416), assists (666) and points (1,082).
He had 27 goals and 32 assists last season for a Senators team that earned the final Eastern Conference playoff berth before going on to lose to the top-seeded Rangers.
"Daniel's contributions to the hockey team cannot be understated," said Senators General Manager Bryan Murray.
"He is a leader and a mentor to many of our young players. Daniel is also a great hockey player and we expect him to continue to be one of our best players as we look to improve on last year's accomplishments."