Since the Washington Capitals were ousted in the second round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there have been countless rumors regarding the fate of winger Alexander Semin.
Semin is a world-class talent, but his apparent lack of desire—especially during the postseason—has many fans and analysts calling for his departure.
While Capitals General Manager George McPhee has been adamant in saying that Semin will not be dealt in the near future, he's set to be an unrestricted free agent come July 1st, 2012, so there's still a reasonable chance he'll be moved before long.
As a three-time 30-goal scorer at age 27, Semin is one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the game, but his enigmatic play during the postseason may make him expendable to a Capitals team that is loaded with offense.
The team's additions of Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward, coupled with the emergence of Marcus Johansson, could compensate for the offensive spark that Semin brings to the table.
Looking ahead, there are a number of teams that could use the super-skilled Russian's offensive abilities, so here are the top five potential destinations for the sometimes-brilliant Alexander Semin.
Since Ilya Kovalchuk became a free agent in the summer of 2010, the Los Angeles Kings have tried desperately to acquire a front-line winger to play with franchise pivot Anze Kopitar.
With Alexander Semin potentially on the market, the Kings have another opportunity to bring in a Russian scoring star.
Unlike many other teams in the running for Semin, the Kings have a variety of talented players they could offer up in return for the 27-year-old.
These options include skilled-but-fragile winger Justin Williams, and gritty two-way forward Jarret Stoll, who will also be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Kings have the cap room to absorb Semin's monster contract, and the assets to lure the Capitals into making a deal that would benefit both parties.
Dale Tallon has redone the Florida Panthers' roster completely since taking over as the team's General Manager last year, and it's no secret that he believes his team will need more talent up front if they're to challenge for a playoff spot.
Semin would be reunited with former teammate Tomas Fleischmann, who signed a big contract with the Panthers this summer.
The two had spurts where they demonstrated some chemistry while in Washington together.
In order to secure the services of Semin, Tallon would likely have to surrender a first rounder or a top-six forward such as sniper David Booth.
Booth is a proven goal scorer, but is not the talent that Semin is, so it's possible that Tallon could peddle him in exchange for Semin.
Florida shouldn't be considered the front-runner for Semin, but after the moves that Tallon made this summer, they can't be counted out at this stage.
Brian Burke, the stern General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has made it clear that he's not a fan of inconsistent players.
At the same time, he's been known to make blockbuster deals in order to bring big-name talent to his teams.
There may be none bigger than Semin's on the trade market right now, so it's likely Burke will at least make an attempt at acquiring the sublimely-talented winger.
Currently, the Leafs have just one All-Star-caliber forward on their roster in Phil Kessel, and if they're going to make a push for the postseason in 2011-12, they'll likely need help up front.
As compensation for Semin, the Leafs could offer up one of their talented young defenseman or a gritty top-six forward like Clarke Macarthur.
While Semin's reputation for disappearing during the postseason won't exactly endear him to Burke and the Leafs' management team, Toronto hasn't had a talent of Semin's caliber since Mats Sundin left town.
The Colorado Avalanche already made one big trade with the Capitals this summer, as they dealt their top two picks in the 2012 NHL draft in exchange for talented but relatively unproven netminder Semyon Varlamov.
Seeing as the Avalanche desperately need a first-line winger to play with Paul Stastny or Matt Duchene, it's possible that Colorado could orchestrate another deal to bring Alexander Semin to Denver.
Semin is close friends with former Capitals and Team Russia teammate Varlamov, so the transition to Colorado wouldn't be too difficult for the soft-spoken sniper.
In exchange for Semin, the Avalanche would likely have to part ways with a top prospect or a useful player, but the Avalanche have plenty of both, so that shouldn't be a problem.
With a new set of logos, management group and coaching staff, it's time for the Winnipeg Jets to add a marquee name to their lineup.
That's where Alexander Semin would come in, as he would be by far the team's most dangerous offensive player.
Though Winnipeg is ecstatic over the return of the NHL to their city, the Jets will not be a playoff team unless General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can add some weapons up front.
If Semin is on the market, Cheveldayoff has both the cap space and assets to make an intriguing offer to the Capitals, likely involving one of his blue-chip defensemen.
If negotiations between the Jets and Zach Bogosian don't progress, he could be the one that the Jets offer up in return for Semin, which wouldn't be a bad haul for the Capitals.
Either way, if George McPhee decides that a change of scenery for Semin is the best course of action for the franchise, the Jets should be one of the first to call and inquire about the electrifying winger, because he'd have a big impact on their fortunes immediately.