Alexander Semin went unsigned late into last summer before Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford decided to take the skilled forward for a test drive, signing him for one year at $7 million.
Clearly, Rutherford and the Canes have enjoyed the ride so far, because the Hurricanes just re-upped for another half-decade of Semin at the same price. On Monday, the club announced a five-year deal with Semin worth $35 million. The cap hit remains the same. From the team's release:
“We’re very happy to retain Alex,” said Rutherford. “Alex is an elite player and has been a major contributor to the Hurricanes having a very strong top line.”
Semin, 29, is in his eighth NHL season and his first with Carolina, after signing as a free agent on July 26, 2012. The Krasnoyarsk, Russia, native leads the Hurricanes in assists (22), and ranks second in points (30) and plus/minus rating (+18) in 30 games this season. Semin (6’2”, 209 lbs.) is tied for 11th among all NHL skaters in assists this season, and tied for 10th in plus/minus rating. He ranks first among Hurricanes forwards in time on ice per game (20:39) and has spent the majority of the season skating alongside Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.
I'd say that he's has come as advertised for Carolina, but really, he hasn't. Only at the high end.
Semin's been criticized for years for being a bipolar player. Even just recently, former teammate Troy Brouwer said it was never a certainty that Semin would show up on any given night. But Carolina has really only seen the good Semin, making a lot of the questions about his work ethic disappear. Maybe the other Semin is partly a myth?
These were the questions that, less than a year ago, scared Rutherford away from the exact deal he just gave out. “We would look at Semin on a short-term basis,” he said this summer. “We wouldn't want to get locked in to anything, because we've all heard the stories about him. We do like his skill level. It could be that we could bring him in for a year, get to know him and go from there in terms of considering something longer term.”
Having gotten to know him, it would appear the Hurricanes like Semin a lot. Now they just have to hope he remains the same player.
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