Semin is a supremely talented player who has faced criticism regarding his character throughout his time in the NHL.
The left-winger has played his entire career with the Washington Capitals, but the Caps have only been willing to offer him one-year contracts for the past two seasons, as noted by Sports Illustrated’s Stu Hackel.
Now, Washington has shown no interest in retaining him, despite his 21 goals and 33 assists last year. Semin scored 40 goals and recorded 44 assists in 2009-10, his best statistical season.
Despite his production, teams in the both the United States and Russia are approaching him with caution.
Sportsnet relayed a report out of Russia that the forward was close to striking a one-year deal with the Pens on July 10, but there does not appear to be much behind the rumor. Slava Malamud, a reporter for Russian newspaper Sports-Express, also heard whispers of CSKA offering Semin a long-term deal on July 8, but this report also does not appear to have any teeth.
Semin’s character is clearly the reason for the cold treatment. His volatile personality makes him a huge risk, but given the lack of interest, Pittsburgh would likely be able to sign him to another one-year deal.
With all the talented forwards the Penguins have, they can afford to make the risky signing.
The team led the NHL with 3.33 goals per game, despite playing without Sidney Crosby for the majority of the season. With Crosby, reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin and newcomer Brandon Sutter, the Penguins will be one of the top-scoring teams in the league once against in 2012-13.
But adding Semin could turn the team into a juggernaut. If he plays to his potential, Pittsburgh will be impossible to stop.
The team has the potential to have the best offense in the league with or without Semin. This gives the team flexibility in the way they handle the temperamental forward.
If he wants to stay focused and play hard, then the Penguins will be frighteningly good. If Semin decides to continue the hijinks that have plagued his career, then Pittsburgh will not have risked much on a failed experiment.