All it took was two signings this year to thin the herd of free-agent talent. Is taking a chance on Alexander Semin worth it? Absolutely.
The New York Rangers want more scoring and a bigger offensive threat. They need to improve on the power play. Alexander Semin could be exactly what they are looking for.
Let's review the Rangers' options.
Last years price on Rick Nash was too high for the Rangers to complete any trade. This year, it appears that the price hasn't changed much.
With both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed, more teams have come to the table inquiring about Nash. So, the Columbus Blue Jackets can drive up the price again, and most likely, this time, a team will over pay.
Bobby Ryan was also rumored to be heading to New York last year, and like the Nash situation, the deal never came. Most teams interested in Nash also have interest in Ryan. Therefore, it will be more difficult for the Rangers to pull off this deal as well.
Unlike Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash, Alexander Semin will not cost the Rangers any players or draft picks. This is a huge plus for the team. Semin's cap hit should fall somewhere in between those two players.
In seven NHL seasons, Semin is averaging just over 28 goals and 58 points a season. Semin has shown that he can score 40 goals in a season with his sniping abilities.
No question, Semin had a down year offensively. His 21 goals last year would have ranked him fourth on the Rangers. His 54 points would have been good enough to tie him with Ryan Callahan for third.
Semin could help weather the storm during Marian Gaborik's absence. Much like Gaborik, Semin is a sniper with a deceptively quick release. His speed allows him to play the Rangers up-tempo style, and thanks to former head coach Dale Hunter implementing a shut down defensive system in Washington last year, Semin could grasp a John Tortorella system in New York.
Clearly, this is one of those high-risk, high-reward situations. But, the Rangers have a solid core group of guys to allow them to take some risks.