Following two grueling seven game series against the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals were eliminated due to the lack of scoring production from a few of their star players. One of those players that clearly under produced was Capitals’ right winger, Alexander Semin. Semin registered only three goals and one assist in Washington’s 14 NHL playoff games. Following the departure of head coach, Dale Hunter Capitals’ general manager George McPhee could be looking to change the dynamic in the locker room and more importantly the production on the ice.
Washington held one of the highest team payrolls for the 2011-2012 season, due to high salary players such as Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Both Ovechkin and Backstrom produced in the playoffs, placing first and second respectively for the Capitals’ in playoff scoring. Free agent to be Alexander Semin did not live up to his salary and capabilities in the playoffs. The former 40 goal scorer in 2009-2010 certainly did not live up to his potential. Last year he signed a one-year, $6.7 million contract extension for this season,but only compiled 54 points in the regular season for the second straight year.
His agent quickly all about eliminated a return to the nation’s capital. Semin’s agent, Mark Gandler talked about Semin and his role with the Capitals’ to ESPN the Magazine. “It was good while it lasted. With the lack of playoff success, with the direction they are going. They decided to change directions. That’s within their rights. Alex doesn’t fit into that system obviously.”
If he didn’t fit into the Capitals’ system, why was he re-signed for this season? If he wasn’t fitting in the Capials’ system Gandler certainly should have advised Semin to test free agency in the summer of 2011. Semin certainly can be a prolific scorer for almost any team based on his pure shot and highly offensive talents. Many teams will be interested in his services, especially smaller payroll teams looking to reach the salary cap minimum, such as the Florida Panthers.
Many thought that Semin could should given more ice time, because of his desire to compete and attempts to provide some defensive reliability. Semin’s agent Mark Gandler thought otherwise. “It just doesn’t make any sense to him. He plays, he did the best he could under the circumstances and he earned his right to be a free agent.”
One of the biggest reasons for Semin’s lack of production was his limited ice time. Obviously, Semin would not have a spot on the penalty kill but many thought he would find ice time late in games. Former Capitals’ coach, Dale Hunter often played his third and fourth lines late in games especially when Washington held a lead.
Gandler talked about Semin’s lack of ice time. “I think the issue is with the organization, not necessarily with the coach. They told us Alex is not going to play short-handed, he’s not going to play in the last minute. He’s going to get the same ice time as everybody else. Alex is not ready to be a role player. He wants to be a full-time player. It’s important to him.”
Semin is certainly a player that will attract some interest from smaller market teams looking to reach the cap floor, while gaining some offensive talent. The Colorado Avalanche are a team that could make a play for Semin’s talents. While gaining a nice paycheck, Semin could have the opportunity to play with young stars such as Paul Statsny and Matt Duchene. Other potential teams vying for the right winger could include the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I don’t know what the market (for him) is going to be,” Gandler said. “I know there aren’t many players like Alex around.”