The debate amongst Pens fans over the last week has been over which of the two top wingers remaining on the free-agent market, Alexander Semin and Shane Doan, should the Pens add to their roster.
Rumors have circulated that both have been offered contracts by the team, and both would provide the added scoring touch that the team needs. I will attempt to compare and contrast the two players, as well as provide the verdict on which one would be the better fit.
GP G A P +/- PIM SOG S% TOI
77 21 33 54 9 56 183 11.5 16:47
GP G A P +/- PIM SOG S% TOI
79 22 28 50 -8 48 226 9.7 19:36
Statistically, the comparison is nearly a wash. It's certainly surprising to see that Semin's plus/minus is 17 better than Doan, as Semin is known to be a defensive liability. Doan was the gritty Captain of the Phoenix Coyotes, one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.
Both players were healthy all year as they each played nearly 80 games, and both scored about the same number of points. The only difference is that Semin seemed to be in Washington's doghouse while Doan was a first line winger. Doan was consistently getting more ice time with better players, yet produced about the same, with a much lower shooting percentage.
This leads me to believe that Semin would put up better numbers than Doan would playing on a line with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
While looking at last year's statistics does help to show which player would be more prosperous on the Pens, it doesn't tell the whole story.
Semin has had injury problems throughout his career, playing in more than 66 games only three times in his seven-year career. Doan, on the other hand, has played in at least 72 games in every season since 98-99, a true ironman. He has played at least 79 games in nine of those seasons.
For a team with the injury problems the Pens have had in recent history, it is a benefit to pick someone who is nearly guaranteed to appear in every one of the team's games.
When comparing the personalities of the two players, they couldn't be more polar opposites. Doan has been the Captain in Phoenix through some of the most troubling years the franchise has had, only to lift them to the postseason and reach the conference finals seemingly out of nowhere. Semin, on the other hand, had worn out his welcome in Washington.
In 2011, Semin was named the most criticized player in the NHL on this very site. Could he be rejuvenated on a new team paired with a world-class center?
But it doesn't change the fact that Semin comes with many question marks that Doan doesn't have attached to his name.
Sign 'em both, Shero; that's the best solution. In reality, however, this likely won't happen. My gut instinct is that the Pens will end up with Semin, and that's okay, because I believe both of these players would be able to produce well for the Pens.