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Report: Alfredsson won’t return this season

Detroit Red Wings v Minnesota Wild

ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 22: Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on during the game against the Minnesota Wild on March 22, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Sounds as though Daniel Alfredsson isn’t coming back for a 19th NHL season.

From TSN:

Sources tell The Dreger Report that Alfredsson has decided not to play this season and while the Red Wings have been informed he is likely done, they have not heard directly from Alfredsson.

Alfredsson has been plagued by an injured disc in his back over the past few years, a lingering problem that he is able to manage off ice, but is continually aggravated by the wear and tear of game action.

Though this development is hardly surprising -- optimism surrounding Alfredsson’s return has been steadily dwindling -- it’ll be interesting to see what Detroit does in light of this development.

Alfredsson was a solid contributor last season, leading the Wings in scoring (with 49 points) despite only appearing in 68 games. While the team has done well to replace his missing offense -- sitting ninth in the league in goals per game, with 2.8 -- it does project to have some available cap space as the season progresses, should GM Ken Holland opt to add a piece.

The club also has a potentially dynamic offensive weapon down in AHL Grand Rapids: Anthony Mantha, the club’s first-round pick at the ’13 draft, who posted back-to-back 50-goal seasons in the Quebec junior league.