This week I’m going to create some mock trade scenarios for embattled right winger Alexander Semin. This season has been plagued by injury and a lack of the scoring production expected from someone who is garnered a $7 million per year contract. He has 8 points (1 G, 7 A) on the season and is a -7.
Semin was drafted in the first round (13th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. He is currently 30 years old.
The Russian forward has consistently score at or above 42 points over the past 8 seasons, most with the Washington Capitals. The Carolina Hurricanes signed Semin as a free agent prior to the 2012-2013 season. Following that season, where he amassed 44 points (13 G, 31 A), former GM Jim Rutherford rewarded him with a 5-year, $35 million contract.
Alexander Semin is another Hurricanes forward to monitor as current GM Ron Francis cannot be happy with his cap hit or his current clip of production. The amount of league-wide interest could be sparse due to his cap hit, but a contender with space under the cap could want to provide Semin with a change of scenery in order to spark his past scoring abilities.
Here are a few mock trades:
Now this was a tough one. In the actual NHL trade market, moving Semin (and his contract) will be close to impossible and the return would most likely not help the Canes that much moving forward. With that said, getting Semin’s cap hit off the books would be the main target, especially with a full or partial organizational rebuild looming. So, I don’t expect these to occur; furthermore, if a trade were to occur, I would expect a generous portion of Semin’s contract to be retained. I would hope we could circumvent this likelihood, but I don’t see another team biting on his entire contract unless they truly needed Alexander Semin to make a run for the Cup.
The first mock trade proposal involves the Boston Bruins. They have moderate cap space to work with and, if they move another contract in the deal, could bring in Semin for a playoff push. In this case, I overloaded the deal just to get an idea of what the Bruins have to offer. I checked out their finances and compared contracts. Chris Kelly maintains a $3.5 million cap hit that increases next year to $4 million. He could come in and help the Canes, but I wouldn’t see him as part of the Canes in the future. He just offsets some of Semin’s money. I was aiming more for a prospect in this deal, and in this case, it’s center Alexander Khokhlachev. He is young enough to be a part of the Canes in the future and has some potential. The former second-rounder hasn’t cracked the NHL fully yet and could do so earlier with the Canes. If we send Zach Boychuk back to the Bruins, he could fill a spot in their bottom six that seems (to me) to be somewhat lacking. Adding the pick is just a sweetener. Working the money out in this deal could be an issue, as it would be in many deals involving Semin, but it could be worth it to add some more scoring power to an underachieving Bruins team.
The Islanders are an interesting team this year with the scoring power to compete in the playoffs (weird). Semin could be just what they need to bolster their second line. They don’t have as much money to throw around at this time, but some offsetting salaries and salary retained on the Canes’ part could do the trick. The Islanders are also looking to increase their faceoff percentage and Jay McClement could assist in that department. To acquire these players, I could see the Islanders giving up low-scoring center Casey Cizikas. The Canes would get younger at center while allowing Cizikas to develop further. I thought about including left winger Josh Bailey here, as I have read about the Islanders fan base’s disappointment in him lately, but I feel that his price tag would be too high. Scott Mayfield would be a nice addition to the Canes’ defensive prospect pool as he carries good size. He could end up as a bottom-four defenseman in the future. To achieve this return, the Canes would most likely have to retain some of Semin’s salary (as expected).
The last proposal is interesting as well. The Canucks have the talent to make it to the playoffs, but need an extra piece or two to ensure their position. This proposal actually seems the most likely to me, as the Canucks would be receiving a higher value right winger in Alexander Semin, while the Canes would receive a younger winger that has an expiring contract. I also like the inclusion of a pick in this year’s Draft. That value would seem to offset any salary the Canes would have to keep on the books for the duration of Semin’s contract. Dorsett has shown promise with the Blue Jackets, Rangers, and Canucks, but hasn’t eclipsed his potential. Resigning him would be an option, but Ron Francis may choose to go in a different direction.
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Like I said, a deal involving Alexander Semin does not seem to be likely at this point. His contract is close to heinous given his current rate of scoring production. He still does have the skill and ability to make a good, playoff-bound team even better, though. If a team wants to take a chance on the Russian winger, I would be very interested to see what the Canes receive in return. At this point, I would love to see pick(s) and/or prospect(s) come back, but who knows? The biggest value would be taking his contract off the books for the next few years. That is what would truly help the Hurricanes rebuild.