Alexander Semin NHL Free Agency: Devils, Penguins, Red Wings, Hurricanes, KHL

Alexander Semin is the biggest name left in the 2012 NHL free agency market with the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and even the KHL interested in his controversial services.

Alexander Semin’s talents may have been neglected as his time with the Washington Capitals came to a close, but the entire hockey world appears to be paying attention to the skilled forward now that Zach Parise is off the market. Semin is considered by many to be one of the most talented players in the NHL, and his 6.7 million dollar salary last year was in line with that theory. Unfortunately, diminished ice time and just 54 points did not align with his widely-assumed skills. The Caps didn’t think Semin was worth over 100,000 dollars per point, but it appears the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, and perhaps even a team in Mother Russia might. At age 28 and a few years removed from 40 goals, Semin holds all the cards in free agency.

The New Jersey Devils are looking to replace Zach Parise’s leadership, grit, and clutch scoring after the high-priced free agent left for Minnesota. Alexander Semin does not represent any of the intangibles Parise left vacant, but offensively Semin is a relative match for the production of Zach Parise. Both forwards have the skill to be a leading goal-scorer in the NHL and if the Devils are desperate to build on the success of their recent playoff run, Semin may be the answer. He comes overpriced and grumpy, in addition to being a bad fit for a traditionally defense-first system. Then again, that’s what they said about fellow Russian scorer Ilya Kovalchuk before he committed to New Jersey for the rest of his hockey life. The Devils are rumored to be in on the chase, and don’t be surprised if Alexander Semin fits somewhere into Devils GM Lou Lamoriello’s highly intriguing plan B.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings missed out on the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise free agency sweepstakes, leaving Alexander Semin as the final option for landing a big-name free agent. Shane Doan is on the market but waiting for the Phoenix Coyotes to figure out their ownership situation and may not want to leave his ranch in the desert. Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan are available for trades, but the Red Wings and Penguins are looking to acquire through free agency first. For these teams, Semin may be the last opportunity to bolster the 2012-13 roster. As such, the Alexander Semin NHL free agency saga is one of the most interesting story lines left this offseason.

The Penguins recently signed Sidney Crosby to a lengthy deal, but the health of the superstar center is, as always, in question. As such, Alexander Semin may not be drawn to playing with the one of the best young players in NHL history. The draw to the Penguins that may be most appealing is Evgeni Malkin, a fellow Russian superstar in the NHL. The Penguins are young, contend for the Cup each year, and if Semin is feeling vengeful there’s no bigger rival to the Washington Capitals in hockey – especially if the NHL realigns to couple Ovechkin and Crosby in the same division.

The Red Wings are looking to reload. Injuries, age, goalie issues, and ultimately retirement have left the Detroit Red Wings reeling a bit for the first time in a generation. With the biggest UFA prizes off the market, why not make a play on Alexander Semin? Even the Carolina Hurricanes are looking to make one more big play after uniting brothers Jordan and Eric Staal. In fact, any team looking to add offense is in on Semin, and the disgruntled scorer likely has his pick of the NHL litter.

He also has the option of playing in Russia where Alexander Radulov signed for 9.2 million dollars a year in the KHL, supposedly influenced by a potential lockout. If the money is there, don’t be surprised if Semin joins him.

Mark Donatiello
Follow me on Twitter:  @FasterHockey more


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