Daniel Alfredsson had never played for Sweden's national junior team, and the Ottawa Senators got a real bargain when they signed the 5' 11", 187 lb. right winger for $250,000 in 1995. For their modest investment the Senators got a Calder Trophy winner who was also named to the NHL's all-rookie team and was the only rookie in the league named to play in the All-Star Game. He was selected by Ottawa in the fifth round, 133rd overall, of the 1994 Entry Draft.
Alfredsson, 23 at the time, edged out Chicago Blackhawks winger Eric Daze, a star with Canada's gold medal-winning national junior team in 1995, and the Florida Panthers talented defenseman Ed Jovanovski in the voting to honor the leagues best first-year player. The Swedish debutante led all rookies in scoring with 25 goals and 61 points while appearing in all 82 regular season games. Czech-born defenseman Stanislav Neckar was the only other Ottawa player who did not miss a regular season game.
In his first NHL playoff series in 1997, Alfredsson led the Senators in scoring and scored two game-winning goals, though the Senators bowed to the Buffalo Sabres in a hard fought seven games. Then to prove that was no fluke, he scored seven goals in 11 playoff games in the 1998 post season, including three, first-period goals in a span of 12 minutes as the Senators defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3.
The Senators showed their respect for him when they named him captain of the team for the 1999-2000 season after Alexei Yashin, who wore the "C" the previous year, decided to sit out when the Ottawa club refused to renegotiate his contract.
Although Sweden failed to win a medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Alfredsson was one of the team's better performers, producing two goals and five points in four games.
Entering his six seasons with the Sens' in 2000-01, Alfredsson was starting to come into his own as one the top players in the league. Over the next four years he would accumulate over 70 points per season. In 2003-04, Alfredsson established a then-career high in points with 80 (32-48-80) good enough for seventh in the league, before helping Sweden capture a silver medal at the 2004 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Daniel topped that accomplisnment by winning Olympic gold in 2006 and surpassing the 100-point plateau with 103 in 2005-06.
In 2006-07 Alfredsson's Senators rebounded from a disappointing early playoff exit in 2006 to win three playoff rounds and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in Ottawa in 80 years. Alfredsson tallied 22 points in just 20 games during the post-season that year, however his club was easily defeated in five games by the Anaheim Ducks.
On October 22, 2010, the Senators' long-time captain and all-time leading scorer became just the 75th player in NHL history reach 1,000 career points.
Aside from his Olympic triumph in 2006 and participation at the 2010 games in Vancouver, Alfredsson has represented his homeland on numerous other occasions, including the World Championships and the World Cup of Hockey.
In 2012, the Senators' longtime captain received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. Alfredsson contributed to the Ottawa community by leading the "You Know Who I Am" campaign for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. He also provided a suite for each Senators home game to the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa and supported the "You Can Play" campaign, aimed at creating equality, respect and safety for all athletes without regard to sexual orientation.
In the summer of 2013, Alfredsson stunned the hockey world, signing as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings. He would go on to appear in 68 games for the Red Wings during the the 2013-14, scoring 18 goals and adding 31 assists for 49 points.
After one season in Detroit, Alfredsson announced his retirement. On December 4, 2014 he signed a one-day contract with Ottawa to officially retire as a member of the Senators.