The Carolina Hurricanes took another step toward securing their franchise's future on Monday afternoon.
Carolina Hurricanes sign Alex Semin, 5 years at $7 million per #TSN— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) March 25, 2013
Semin was signed last summer by the Hurricanes to a one-year, $7 million deal after a controversial three-week free agency saga.
He's been absolutely spectacular since arriving in Raleigh, proving the 'Canes once-questioned decision to have been a simply brilliant one.
The 29-year-old Russian has registered eight goals and 22 assists in 30 games this season, a perfect point-per-game that trails only team captain and fellow linemate Eric Staal.
Per Rutherford via NHL.com:
“We’re very happy to retain Alex. Alex is an elite player and has been a major contributor to the Hurricanes having a very strong top line.”
The praise is certainly deserved. Semin has completely reversed his reputation and work ethic since moving south from Washington, helping the 'Canes return to the playoff hunt after a three-year absence.
Know who has both more points and a better +/- than Alex Semin this year? Crosby. Kunitz. Staal. That's it. #SashaCares— Mike Sundheim (@MikeSundheim) March 25, 2013
Despite all of the success and stardom he has garnered this winter, the winger's relationship with Carolina seemed potentially short-lived. After all, he was set to be a free agent again in July, and the odds were that any new contract would significantly increase his salary beyond $7 million.
But, in the end, commitment and pride shone through. Per Semin via Hurricanes' TV commentator Tripp Tracy:
"I love this city.I love the fans. In a short time, I have grown very close with my teammates, coaches, and staff in Carolina."-Alex Semin— Tripp Tracy (@TrippTracy) March 25, 2013
The signing now partners Semin, who will play his 500th career NHL game Tuesday night, alongside a number of stars locked in long term with the Hurricanes.
Carolina now boasts nine players with three or more years remaining on their contracts, all but one of whom carry cap hits of $4 million or higher. Among the group are five forwards—Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Eric and Jordan Staal.
The Carolina Hurricanes are certainly no longer NHL bottom-feeders.
Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009, receiving almost one million views on his 450-plus articles to date.