Cardiac Cane will be able to provide plenty of insight for you all season long this acquisition, as well as a few jokes. But with all kidding aside, and with no real reason at this point to take a shot, here’s my take on the Alexander Semin signing.
First of all, it’s been well documented that he’s been a bit of a malcontent. To go along with that, it’s been said his attitude is poor, his habits are bad, and he plays only if and when he feels like it. Having spent all seven of his NHL seasons with the Washington Capitals I find it difficult to believe that a player of Semin’s talents would be so aloof playing along side Alexander Ovechkin, as well as Nicklas Backstrom. That trio just on paper is a deadly mixture, but there was obviously something wrong with the recipe at times.
Semin’s best season for the Caps was in 2009-2010 when he scored 40 goals and had 44 assists in the regular season. In the post season of that year, Semin was shutdown by the Jacques Martin defence, as the Montreal Canadiens upset the Washington, and eliminated them in the first round. He has scored 28 and 21 goals in the seasons that followed, and that has contributed to the question marks of his game. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford had this to say about the enigmatic winger:
“We have done a lot of research about Alexander, and discussions about his fit with our team have included people at many different levels of our organization, including players, coaches and staff,” said Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford in a team statement. “What’s been clear throughout this process was his commitment to wanting to play in the NHL, and compete against the world’s best players.
“Alexander’s elite skill level and ability to score from the wing fill an important need on the ice, and we hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well.”
Maybe the fresh start is what a player like Semin needs. Playing along side the Staal brothers, and with Kirk Muller behind the bench, could be the right medicine, or antidote. Many around the NHL feel that the Canes will be a much better team now, and can compete for the division crown with Semin on the roster. While he certainly has the potential to add offence, provided he has his head in the right place, he’s also been known to float when it comes to defence. Again, new surroundings may change the outlook and the demeanor……or maybe not. However defensively Carolina doesn’t scare me. It’s my observation that a number of things ahve to go right for them to be a more competitve team and improve their record from last season.
Many feel that the one year deal is a good one for Semin, and there’s only upside to it if he performs. While I thought Semin might (emphasize might) have been worth taking a chance on here in Florida, I would not have wanted to take a chance for $7 million dollars. To me that’s a hefty price to pay for a player that could come in and disrupt a dressing room that was one of the best that the Panthers have had in a long time. Certainly a room full of veterans like Ed Jovoanvski and Brian Campbell would have hopefully been able to put Alex in his place should he step put of line. But you wonder if experienced players like Mike Knuble, Jason Chimera and Jeff Halperin in Washington couldn’t do it, then why would it be different here?
In listening to the media from many different angles during this off season, I’ve heard that both Semin and his agent have been campaigning that Alex deserves and wants a chance to prove all the doubters wrong. He is determined to shed his image and prove to the league that the potential that he has is real, and that he can show it on a nightly basis. Something that I certainly would have given him the chance to do, but not for $7 million dollars. With the NHL in a state of uncertainty with the CBA, I can’t see how Semin gets the money coming off a very soft season. 21 goals? Only two power play goals? And only on game winner? I’ll bet all of you clamoring for him to play here in South Florida didn’t know that.
Whether it’s for one year or five, those kind of stats aren’t anywhere near clutch. And for my money, if I’m paying you $7 million dollars a year to score goals, 25% of them at minimum,better come at a time when our team needs them the most. Secondly, where does Carolina go should Alex set the NHL on fire and score 40 goals? Are you really going to pay him $8 million, or even $9 million? And give him 5 years on top of it? Only to have him fall back into his lazy and uncaring ways?
I credit Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers for taking many of the chances that he has in his career as a GM, both in Chicago and here in Florida. Not every move works out, but unless Alex Semin was going to come here for $5.5 million a season, I’m in full support of not equalling this offer. With all the distractions in South Florida, and the bad habits he’s allegedly been accused of, I see no reason in shooting ourselves in the foot and disrupting our positive movement.
Again, I would take a chance on the year, maybe even two, but not the money.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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