Ilya Kovalchuk turned down big money from Russia this summer in order to stay in the NHL, because he wanted play here. Will you look at both leagues as equals?
"I like it here better. I've been here five years already and am used to everything. It's comfortable here." Alex Semin.
This is the first time that I've ever seen Semin indicate his intentions on whether or not he would stay in the NHL or choose the league of his homeland, the KHL. This for me was the biggest question mark concerning the upcoming UFA status of Semin. So it now appears that Semin is not only comfortable with the Capitals but he is also comfortable with the NHL, and all the talk of Semin not doing interviews because his english is horrible I think is bunch of crap. He just doesn't give interviews. So now that we have a certain amount of clarity on the matter, what would you armchair GM's do with him?
Let me first say that I love Alex Semin. I've always said he is often the most skilled/talented guy on the ice, and not just on the Capitals. This is an opinion shared by many. Another opinion shared by many is that Semin isn't always mentally into games or has mental lapses, lazy, too many stick penalties a tad bit flighty. So there is the good and bad thing with Semin.
Semin has always been able to produce in the regular season, there was a bit of a hiccup 2007/08 but he is a point per game+ player, he has 300 points in 327 career NHL games. He's tallied 40 goals just once, last season, but should be a perennial 35+ goal scorer for the next 5 years, barring injury. Which is another issue with Semin, injuries. Semin has missed 53 games over the past 4 seasons, none of the injuries from my memory were serious, more of the nagging variety. If he put it all together one season and stayed on the ice, he could put up a 100 pt season with 45+ goals, but that is a huge if.
Playoffs... sigh. This is a painful topic for us. But I think Semin kinda gets the raw deal when his playoff performances are called into question. Yes, he didn't score vs the Canadiens last year in the playoffs, but he had a ton of SOG, they just didn't go in, unlucky in my book. Semin has 24 points in 28 career playoff games, including last years unlucky performance.
So that is the skinny on Semin. Lots of good, some bad, some questions but no question a dynamic force that would be a top 3 player on almost every team in the NHL at either RW or LW.
Currently Semin is being paid $6M for this upcoming season. Here is a list of players that have scored 70 goals over the past 2 seasons and their salaries.
Crosby $9M - Ovechkin $9M - Stamkos $3.7M - Marleau $6.9M - Kovalchuk $6.67M - Heatley $7.5M - Parise $3.1M - Nash $7.8M - Carter $5M
I think that's the list. Of these players you can nix Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Parise and Carter off of the list as comparables. I believe Semin on the open market is going to garner a multi-year contract at upwards of $6.5M+ to $7.25M per year. If someone thinks otherwise I'd like to hear the argument, not argue, but to hear other opinions.
The Capitals in 2011/12 have $35.6M committed to 12 players next season. With a slew of FA's, most notably Semin, Fleischmann, Knuble, Laich, Alzner and Varlamov. Could we afford Semin in 2011/12? Yes, however, in 2012/13, Green, Fehr and Carlson are up. If you were to give Semin a hometown discount contract of $6.5M per season for multiple years, in 2012/13, you could potentially have Ovechkin making $9.7M, Backstrom $6.7M, Semin $6.5M++, Green $6.25++, Laich $3.5M++, Varlamov $3.0M++, Fleischmann $3.33M++, Fehr $2.8M++, Carlson $3.0M++, Alzner $2.75M++, Poti $2.75M... The math doesn't work.
I've said it before, I think you will have to choose between Green +depth/role/ss or Semin +depth/role/ss or Green+Semin and no depth/role/ss. No depth is not an option for me personally. Depth/role/ss players like Laich, Fehr, Flash, Alzner, Varlamov, Mackan would be hard to keep if you decided to keep both Green and Semin.
So the question to all of you armchair GM's, is what do you do? Trade Semin before the TD and get something in return for our prized UFA? And what would you expect in return? or do you say screw that, we need Semin to win the SC this season? And if you do choose to do that, do you sign Semin over the summer and what are the terms? And if you do sign Semin, who are the casualties?
++ = estimated salary 2012/13