DETROIT >> Daniel Alfredsson’s future with the Detroit Red Wings seems a bit murky.
“I think if I was confident enough after last season that if I would start this season as I did last year I would have signed already,” Alfredsson said Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. “I had some issues with my back throughout the year, but nothing serious until the end when I started getting some tingling in the nerves down the right leg. That’s what worries me more than anything.”
Alfredsson, who has an issue with a nerve in his back, is in town taking part in on-ice workouts with a number of other Wings preparing for training camp.
“I would love to play, there’s no question, but at the same time you have to listen to your body,” Alfredsson said. “I’m hoping that I’ll know within the next week or two weeks. We’ll see.”
Alfredsson said his decision will most likely come before training camp that begins with physicals on Sept. 18.
“We’re going to let Alfie have this week, let have next week and then I’ll see what he thinks,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “If Alfie tells me he feels great and he wants to play hockey then we have to sit down and talk. If he tells me on the 15th of September, ‘I feel good but you know what I’d like to go to training camp and see a bit more’ then I think we’re going to do it.
“He wants to play, that’s why he’s back here,” Holland continued. “He wants to be fair to the Detroit Red Wings. And he wants to put himself through an everyday test and that starts this week.”
Alfredsson, who resumed skating in Sweden before coming back to Detroit, and his family will remain in Detroit next season no matter what the final decision is on his career.
He had 18 goals and 31 assists in 68 regular season games, but didn’t record a point in the postseason.
The nerve issue didn’t start until the end of last season according Alfredsson, who also had a groin and back injury.
“I haven’t experienced a lot of pain with it,” Alfredsson said. “It’s been more with numbness and losing strength in the right leg, which is why you need to put the repetition in to make sure you hold up.”
Alfredsson, 41, added he had surgery roughly three years ago for similar symptoms and afterwards he felt great.
“We don’t want a part-time player, we want a full-time player, so a guy’s got to be healthy, he’s got to be able to skate,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Alfie led our team in scoring last year, without that happening. That’s how good a man he is and that’s how talented he is. But if you start the year injured and you’re 25, you’ve got a chance to finish the year healthy. If you start the year injured and you’re Alfie’s age, the chance of you getting ready to go is a lot harder.”
The Wings have just over $5 million in cap space left and still need to sign restricted free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser which means Alfredsson will have to take a pay cut after making $5.5 million ($2 million in bonuses) last season.
Detroit has 14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies signed to one-way contracts.