Alexander Semin Should Be the First to Go in the Washington Capitals' Overhaul

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Alexander Semin Should Be the First to Go in the Washington Capitals' Overhaul
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Alexander Semin

On January 27, 2011, Alexander Semin signed a one-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals.  At the time the Capitals may have been hoping that they could have inked the talented winger to a longer contract.  Now they may be thankful they did not.

If the Capitals are going to make major changes during this offseason, the first change should be trading Semin. 

No one in the organization questions Semin's talent.  He has shown flashes of brilliance during his career with the Capitals.  He has been productive on multiple lines for coach Bruce Boudreau, who enjoys shaking up his pairings frequently.  Semin also enjoys his relationship with teammate and pal Alexander Ovechkin, and the two often play well when paired on the same line.

Semin's ineffectiveness in the playoffs, however, and his inability to bring his game up a notch at critical moments, has been a particular point of frustration for the Capitals and their fans. 

Despite Semin's four goals and two assists in Washington's nine playoff games, he was conspicuously absent during the critical series with Tampa Bay and was his usual silent and sullen self during post-game interviews.

In addition, Semin was not invited by the Russian hockey federation to participate in the world championships after Washington's untimely exit from the playoffs.  That, more than anything, speaks volumes about how he's viewed outside of Washington.

His $6,000,000 salary may scare some teams away, but Semin did notch 28 goals and 26 assists during the regular season and was a solid plus-22 during the campaign.  These are good selling points for general manager George McPhee when it comes to Semin, who should be traded now while he can bring solid value and before the possibility of Washington losing his services to free agency following the 2011-2012 season. 

His salary could be renegotiated by a potential trading partner following next year's campaign, so Semin would basically be playing for a lucrative future contract.  Perhaps that is one thing that can motivate this underachieving star.

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