On March 25 the Carolina Hurricanes made a somewhat surprising announcement that they had re-signed Alex Semin to a five year contract extension at $7 million a season. While the Russian-native had created a top line with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty for the Canes it was surprising that GM Jim Rutherford paid Semin that much money for five years.
Semin’s Time In Washington
In 2003-04 Semin played his first games in the NHL scoring 22 points in 52 games for a dreadful Washington Capitals team. During the lockout Semin returned home to play in Russia and did not return to the NHL until the beginning of the 2006 season. The six-foot-two forward formed a deadly pair with Alex Ovechkin scoring 73 points that season.
Semin has always been known as a streaky player since his early days with the Capitals. In his last two seasons there Semin put up 54 points both years, a marginal drop from his 79 and 84 point campaigns in the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons, respectively. Midway through the 2010 season Semin signed a one-year extension through the 2011 season.
After last season the Capitals chose not to re-sign Semin allowing the right-winger to enter the free agency market for the first time. Semin signed with the Hurricanes almost a month after free agency started prompting plenty of rumors that the skilled forward would be heading back to Russia instead of staying in the NHL.
Semin started the season slowly scoring two goals in the first 10 games, but at the end of February Semin went on a tear when he was put with Staal and Tlusty. Between February 24 and March 9 Semin recorded four goals and 11 assists in eight games and moved into the top scorers of the NHL.
The 29-year-old also surprised some fans by his strong defensive play after being labeled as ‘lazy’ and ‘not caring’ while he was with the Capitals organization.
Since signing the extension, Semin has dropped off in a big way. He has two goals and six assists in nine games, but still sits at eighth in the NHL for assists. While the whole Carolina offense is having a tough April, Semin could have been relied on to get the offense going. For $7 million a year that should not be too much to ask for.
It is doubtful the Rutherford is regretting signing Semin to a contract – he plans to fit into the team’s future by forming the top line and is only 28-years-old, but the GM may be wishing he was able to talk down the contract price. A more reasonable price for Semin should be in the $5-$6 million range rather than the salary of Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla.