There isn't any doubting Alexander Semin's skill set.
The 6'2", 210-pound right winger was the Washington Capitals first-round draft selection in 2002, taken 13th overall.
Now playing in his sixth season in Washington, Semin is currently second in scoring for the Caps with 18 goals and 33 points.
Semin has chipped in six power play goals and added a shorthanded tally as well through his first 32 games.
After receiving an NHL league fine for cross-checking Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles during last Saturdays 3-2 loss to Colorado, Semin, along with his Capitals teammates, were pounded 7-0 by the New York Rangers Sunday night in what was clearly a frustrating night for the Capitals.
The Capitals have lost six straight games including the 7-0 embarrassment on Sunday night in New York against the Rangers.
Although there are reports that Semin loves playing hockey in DC along with friend Alex Ovechkin, the introverted native of Russia could be playing his last season with the Caps.
When his one-year deal worth $6 million ending at the conclusion of this season, Semin will become an unrestricted free agent. Semin's agent Mark Gandler has already said publicly that they would listen to offers from the Caps first, the reality is that Semin could cash in handsomely on the open market.
The Caps have Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley and newly acquired Scott Hannan as UFA's along with Semin for next season.
Add the Semyon Varlamov as a RFA, and the Caps salary situation looks like it might be tight. They currently have $1.5 million available, and there is discussion that the NHL will increase the cap by as much as $2 million for next season.
If the Capitals continue to struggle, Semin and others might be the trade bait that Caps general manager George McPhee dangles in an effort to shake this team up.
The Caps have done well with their draft selections over the last few years and their minor league system continues to be the place that develops their young players into NHL-caliber players. Under general manager George McPhee, the Caps are one of the premiere talent developers in the NHL.
With talent development comes assets.
Some of these assets could be sacrificed for immediate help. Moving a few along the way will still encourage players in the organization that they might one day play in Washington or elsewhere in the NHL.
However, this club has lost in the first round of the NHL eastern conference playoffs over the last two seasons, and this season is proving to be an interesting climb for a club with so much promise.
Should the Caps consider trading an asset like Semin, there will be teams interested in the right winger.
These are five teams that likely will sell the farm for to acquire Alexander Semin.