Ottawa Senators News & Rumors: White, Gaudette & Alfredsson

In this edition of Ottawa Senators’ News & Rumors, I’ll look at news that the team will be buying out the contract of Colin White. What had started well almost three years ago, has turned out to be a failed experiment. 

Second, I’ll look at another young player who won’t be returning to the team – that’s Adam Gaudette. The team has notified Gaudette that they would not be extending him a qualifying offer. 

Related: Ottawa Senators’ Brady Tkachuk: Building Block for the Future

Finally, I’ll take a look at former Senators player Daniel Alfredsson who was named to become part of the 2022 class that will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Item One: Colin White’s Contract Will Be Bought Out by the Senators

On August 21, 2019, Colin White signed a six-year contract with the Ottawa Senators. The contract paid him an average of $4.75 million. At the time, Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion lauded White as one of the core players for the team moving forward. And, at the time, that assessment made perfect sense.

Colin White Ottawa Senators
Colin White, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

At the time, White had just come off his rookie season where he was one of the top 10 NHL rookies in goals scored, assists, and points. In fact, he was set to start the 2019-20 season as the Senators’ top-line center. As it turned out, the 14 goals and 27 assists (for 41 points) White scored in those 71 games turned out to be the best season he’s ever played.

Injuries and poor play mounted up; and, as a result, yesterday the Senators announced that the team had placed White on unconditional waivers. The goal, if White clears waivers – and there’s no reason any team would pick him up at his cost – would be to buy out the last three years of White’s contract. 

Related: Senators’ 2020 Draft First-Round Targets

In the end, White played only three of the six seasons he signed up for as part of his $28.5 million contract. Although he had 41 points in his rookie campaign, he barely topped that total (only 20 goals and 31 assists, for 51 points in 130 games) during his next three seasons. 

At 25 years old, because of White’s young age, the buyout will help the Senators save a great deal of salary-cap space. While White’s contract would have drained the salary cap by $4.75 million over the next three seasons; instead, the Senators will only pay $875,000 over five of the next six seasons. During the 2024-25 season, they’ll actually have a $625,000 cap credit.

Item Two: Adam Gaudette Wasn’t Qualified by the Senators

Last week, the Senators informed Adam Gaudette that they would not be giving him a qualifying offer. That means that he’ll become an unrestricted free agency. Gaudette had been claimed off waivers by the Senators in November 2021 from the Chicago Blackhawks. 

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After a strong season with the Vancouver Canucks in 2019-20, where Gaudette scored 12 goals and added 21 assists (for 33 points) in 59 games, he was never able to replicate those numbers. Last season with the Senators, he scored five goals and put up 14 points in 58 games. It wasn’t enough to keep him around.

Item Three: Daniel Alfredsson Will Enter the Hockey Hall of Fame

Daniel Alfredsson, who had been eligible to enter the Hall of Fame since 2017, was chosen to enter as part of the 2022 class. During his NHL career, Alfredsson scored 444 goals and totalled 1,157 points in 1,246 career games. Of his 18 NHL seasons, 17 were spent as a Senator. 

Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

With Ottawa, Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1995-96. He also won an Olympic gold medal with Team Sweden in 2006.

Alfredsson called being named to the Hockey Hall of Fame “surreal.” When he got the news, he was hanging out with his former teammate Erik Karlsson. He noted that he had wanted a few people around – just in case it did happen. 

As Alfredsson tells it, “We were sitting, having a good time, talking about our memories and whatnot; and, then after 8 p.m. (Swedish time) I thought, ‘Oh my God, it probably won’t happen.’” (from “GARRIOCH: Alfie calls his entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame ‘surreal’,” Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun, 28/06/2022).

Alfredsson continued that “It was OK because we were still having a good time here.”  

When the phone rang, his wife Bibbi answered. When she said it was from the Hockey Hall of Fame, he felt “it’s happening.” Because he’d been passed for election three times, he was coming to believe it might not happen. 

Congratulations to Alfredsson on making the Hall.

What’s Next for the Senators? 

The Ottawa Senators are scheduled to pick at No. 7 in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft. However, Senators’ general manager Dorion is willing to trade that draft pick for a top-four defenseman who can help the team right now. 

Related: The Ottawa Senators and the Promise of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft

We’ll see what the Senators do on draft day. They’ll have up to 10 picks if nothing changes.