Although he will no longer be putting on the same uniform, the Washington Capitals will have plenty of oppurtunities to see their old buddy Alex Semin during the course of the 2012-2013 season. On Thursday, Semin signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes worth $7 million, keeping the sniping Russian forward in the Southeast division.
For much of the off-season Semin toiled with the notion of returning to Russia to play in the KHL should he not receive the kind of money he was looking for from an NHL team. Coming off the lowest goal output since his rookie season in 2004, Semin’s 21 goals and 54 points in a contract year are hardly the gawdy numbers you would expect of a player given this hefty of a contract, but it is his capabilities that made him so tempting to the Hurricanes.
Two seasons removed from a career high 40 goals and 84 points, Semin has often been considered one of the most talented players in the NHL. Someone who, when playing at his highest level, could be every bit as dangerous as his now former Russian teammate Alex Ovechkin. Unfortunately for the Capitals, they didn’t always get that high level of play from Semin who has been heavily criticized for not bringing a full effort and appearing to just be ‘going through the motions’ on many of his shifts on a game-to-game basis. In his seven seasons in Washington he was also seen as someone who would fold under the pressure and intensity of the NHL playoffs, and after just three goals and one assist in the Caps 14 playoff games this year, it was almost certain that his time in the Nation’s Capital had come to an end.
Not wanting to get themselves into a long-term deal with a player who carries some considerable baggage, the Hurricanes opted to meet Semin’s $ demands, but have left the door open to either re-structure his contract or let him walk at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Unless he makes a sizeable impact, it is likely that this is simply a rental and Semin will again be searching for a new suitor during next year’s off-season.
So what kind of impact will Semin have on the Hurricanes this upcoming season? Well that remains to be seen, but what we do know is that the club has made some nice additions in their rebuilding phase after missing the playoffs the past three years.
On the day of the NHL Draft, General Manager Jim Rutherford was able to pull the trigger on a deal that brought in center Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins where he will play alongside older brother and Canes captain Eric Staal. Add Semin in to the Staal brothers and wunderkind Jeff Skinner and the Hurricanes have an impressive quartet of forwards that will certainly drive up the excitement and anticipation for players and fans alike.
The 28-year-old Semin possesses one of if not the deadliest shot in the game, but because of Ovechkin he was never the main option in Washington.
With the likes of the Staal’s and Skinner able to do some of their best work around the goal area, Semin should have plenty of room to lurk around the outside and get into position to release that laser-like shot. Something his new employers will be hoping he can do a lot of, which in turn will make $7 million dollars somewhat easier to hand over.