All season long, the NHL's rumor mill has been churning out potential deals involving the Washington Capitals' Alexander Semin, but as things stand today, it appears that Semin will likely remain with the team through the NHL Trade Deadline on February 27th.
While it's still unlikely that the Caps will sign Semin to an extension before the season draws to a close, the absences of Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom make Washington more starved for offense than ever before, so General Manager George McPhee may be forced to hang onto the talented winger if his Capitals are intending on capturing a fifth straight Division title.
Due to the fact that Semin's offensive talent is a near necessity for the Capitals at this stage, it would likely take a king's ransom in order for another team to pry the former 40-goal scorer away from the only NHL club he's known.
With that in mind, here are seven teams that would be ideal destinations for the 27-year old sniper.
With Toronto in a tight race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, General Manager Brian Burke will undoubtedly be looking to add some help offensively, and Semin could be a player of interest.
The Maple Leafs have a number of valuable young assets, as well as a very strong defensive core, so if the Capitals continue to be without the services of Mike Green, they may be looking to add some depth defensively.
Ultimately, George McPhee will have to decide if he thinks this is the year for the Capitals. They haven't looked like a contender since November, so if they aren't in first place in the Southeast by the deadline, they may be looking to part ways with Semin in order to acquire young talent.
In Colorado, the Avs have two very promising centers in Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene, but lack an explosive scoring winger to go along with the team's pair of playmaking pivots.
The Avalanche are currently tied for 9th place in the west, three points out. If they are serious about making any kind of meaningful run in the Playoffs, Greg Sherman will need to deal for a sniper, and one of Semin's calibre could make a big difference down the stretch. The Avalanche have more than enough cap space to try and lock Semin up for a long-term contract, and have some young assets that could interest the Caps.
If the Capitals included a young prospect, one center they could target is Ryan O'Reilly, who would help lessen the blow of Backstrom's injury.
So far, the Senators have not been mentioned much as a potential suitor for the services of Alexander Semin, but that doesn't mean they won't make a late push to acquire the Russian sniper.
Ottawa has been the league's biggest surprise this season, as they currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, and have a solid collection of young talents that could be of interest to the Capitals. More importantly, and with all due respect to Milan Michalek, the Senators lack a pure goal scorer, and Semin could be the perfect linemate for a playmaker like Jason Spezza.
If Ottawa has hopes of making it out of the first round for the first time since their run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, they'll need to make a splash at the deadline, and it likely wouldn't cost them much more than one of their highly-rated forward prospects, like Kyle Turris or Colin Greening. While Semin would obviously be a big help in the short term, another reason why the move would make sense for the Sens is that the team has the cap room to retain Semin, so trading for the slick winger could pay long term dividends as well.
Though many of the trade rumors out of Calgary involve the future of captain Jarome Iginla, the Flames maintain that they're going to do everything they can to qualify for the Playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
If Calgary hopes to make their first postseason appearance since 2009, they'll need to start scoring more goals, and the addition of Semin would immediately make them a more dangerous team offensively. While the Capitals would undoubtedly love to acquire Iginla, it still doesn't seem likely that General Manager Jay Feaster will opt to move the best player in franchise history.
Instead of Iginla, the Flames could offer up center Olli Jokinen as compensation, as the Capitals need a skilled center more than they need another enigmatic scorer—especially if Nicklas Backstrom doesn't return to the lineup soon.
The Los Angeles Kings have been in search of a scoring winger since losing out to New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes two summers ago. If Alexander Semin is being shopped, Dean Lombardi will certainly be calling about his availability.
Lombardi's previous attempts to add some scoring touch on the wings have proven futile, as Alexei Ponikarovsky, Dustin Penner and Simon Gagne have all failed to meet expectations.
If the Kings are serious about going deep into the Playoffs and reaching the Conference Finals for the first time since the Wayne Gretzky era, they'll need to make a move at the deadline, and acquiring a goal scorer like Semin could be what puts them over the top.
In order to get Semin, they'd likely have to part ways with a top-six forward or a top-four defenseman, and someone like Jarret Stoll or Dustin Penner might be of interest to the Capitals, especially if Washington feels it needs a power forward to add toughness around the net for the postseason.
Though Chicago's Stan Bowman acquired Brendan Morrison in a trade with Calgary earlier this week, the Blackhawks are still looking to add a significant piece up front before the trade deadline, and certainly have the assets to put together an enticing offer for George McPhee's consideration.
In exchange for Semin, the Blackhawks could make a young forward like Viktor Stalberg or Michael Frolik available, and seeing as both are under contract for at least another season, either one would help replace the offensive output that Washington will lose once Semin is gone.
The Blackhawks know that in order to emerge as the team that represents the Western Conference in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, they'll have to be able to outscore offensive juggernauts like Vancouver and Detroit, and the addition of Semin would automatically make them the team to beat in the West.
Heading into the last couple of weeks leading up to the deadline, the Detroit Red Wings have been linked to Alexander Semin as frequently as any team, and for good reason. The Red Wings are one of the most complete squads in the league, but they still lack a pure goal scorer, though they have an abundance of quality set-up men.
Semin's style of play would appear to mesh well with the Red Wings' emphasis on playing puck-possession games, and he certainly has the speed and skill to keep up with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula, so bringing in a goal scorer like Semin makes sense for the Wings, at least on paper.
Should Ken Holland choose to make a serious push to bring in Semin, he'd probably have to give up a top-six forward that would in turn help the Capitals. Two names that come to mind in that regard are Jiri Hudler, who would address the Caps' glaring need for skilled, two-way forwards, and Todd Bertuzzi, who would be a welcome addition to a powerplay that has struggled at times this season.