According to Alexander Semin’s agent in an ESPN.com interview, he has “no intentions of signing a contract extension with the Capitals and plans on becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.”
The one-time high-scoring player has had a rough time the last two seasons. A change in game philosophy by the Washington Capitals has not fit well with his style of play, and he has not been able to fully adapt. After topping 30 goals in three of his first four seasons, he only has 28 and 21 the last two seasons.
There are two concerns with Semin.
The first is durability. He has averaged over 12 missed games a season. The most games he has ever played in a season is 77, which he has done twice.
While by no means a deal breaker, it is something to be mindful of.
The other issue is his playoff performance. Semin has not been a steady performer in the playoffs. Semin has 15 goals in 51 playoff games; while not horrible, he often gets blamed for Washington failing short in the playoffs.
The last several seasons, the Red Wings have often short-circuited come playoff time, and adding another player who has the potential to disappear in the playoffs is a concern.
All that being said, there is a tremendous upside to Semin. He does have a 40-goal season to his credit and can be a dangerous sniper. He also has experience playing with Datsyuk on the 2010 Russian Olympic team.
The idea of pairing Datsyuk and Semin is very enticing. Datsyuk is a pass-first superstar who would set some great passes up for Semin. Having someone willing to tee it up for him would result in an easy and immediate resurgence for Semin.
As for the playoffs, that is not a worry. There was a time when even Datsyuk’s playoff ability was in question in Detroit.
Semin is still a young player. His style would adapt well to Detroit, and having a true sharpshooter on the team would be a huge boost.
Despite the recent downturn in his offensive play, he still has averaged 24.5 goals over the past two seasons. In Detroit, regardless if he was paired with Datsyuk or not, he would bounce back above 30 goals.
Detroit has a history of bringing players in who seem to be in decline, only to see them shine. He would not have to carry the team nor bear as much of the spotlight.
It would make him a more comfortable player, which would result in better numbers.