Hoping to re-establish the team in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, Carolina GM Jim Rutherford traded fan favorite Brandon Sutter, prospect Brian Dumoulin and a first-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jordan Staal.
Then, slightly less than a month later, he signed 2012's most enigmatic free agent, Semin, to a shocking one-year contract.
He hoped the two momentous acquisitions would help the 'Canes return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Halfway through the lockout-shortened 2013 season, those investments have paid off exactly in the way Rutherford hoped.
Semin and Staal have been solid producers on the box score but even more impressive on the ice, where Semin has quickly shed his lazy reputation and Staal has swiftly developed chemistry with all of his teammates.
But have they been equal to their price tags? Have they been worth a young, terrific third-line center, two promising future defensemen and $7 million in cash?
Looking back on the events of last summer, grades for the Staal and Semin acquisitions—based on the first half of the season—fall on the two coming slides.