Feb 26, 2011; Uniondale, NY, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Semin (28) celebrates his goal assisted by left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the third period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Capitals won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Alex Semin Mystery Sweepstakes

Now that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are off the free market, the rush of high price signings has ded down quite a bit.  Fat money has already been doled out to borderline good players, like Dennis Wideman and Matt Carle, and the sentiment around the league is that teams have had enough signing checks for these guys.  Most teams, such as the Bruins or Capitals for example, have decided they like the team they have already and no more tinkering is needed.

And that leaves guys like Alex Semin, hoping to cash in for some solid cash, out in the cold.  The man who couldn’t stick in Washington has undeniable talent – one of the top five best wrist shots in the league.  With a 40 goal season on his resume, him and his agent were probably certain that they could get big money in a shallow free agent market, and that teams would be biting at the chance to sign such a prolific scorer.

That hasn’t happened in the least.  Semin remains unsigned, his old team has effectively disowned him, and the offers aren’t exactly piling up.  Many doubt that Semin got anything more than a one-year contract for about $4 million, and other people are saying that the Russian KHL mght be trying to sign him away.  And it all raises the question that nobody has been able to answer: what does Alex Semin actually want?

Does he want to play in a big market or a small one?  Does he want to be the main guy on offense or a helping winger?  Does he want to stay in the Northeast?  Does he want length in his conract?  Does he even want to play in the NHL anymore?  Does he care about winning the Cup?

Some of those questions may seem unfair if you asked them to any hockey player in North America.  However, Alex’s reputation precedes himself.  He seemed bored playing alongside two of the game’s brightest players in Washington: Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.  The top line battery is amazing, and the Capitals had great chances to make Cup runs.  But he seemed disinterested for a large portion of games, and defensively his effort was clearly not there.  Some teams go out of their way to avoid him, given his reputation.  Others will take out a flyer and give him a one-year deal or so.  But who are these teams, and why hasn’t Semin signed someplace yet?

Nobody can truly answer that.  The question goes back to Semin’s preferences in a franchise, but at this point he should be considering every offer if he wants to play hockey next year.  He’ll get sizable money from a team looking to reach the cap floor, but one has to imagine that wasn’t his first choice.  The Penguins name has been attached to Semin, but nothing has been finalized, and maybe Pittsburgh will save its money to grab somebody else down the road.  Maybe the Panthers try to sign him, but the attitude problem must always be in the back of Dale Tallon’s head.

Wherever Semin lands, the long empty space from July 1st to that date is telling.  Teams don’t have to put up with Semin’s lackadaisical behavior, and no team needs him bad enough to sacrifice defense for offense in a league that’s moving the opposite direction.  Semin’s a dangerous player, but he’s also equally dangerous to sign.

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Tags: Alex Ovechkin Alex Semin Alexander Semin Florida Panthers Washingotn Capitals

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