Prior to the 2013 season, hockey fans wondered which team would take a chance on free agent Alexander Semin. Coming off seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, Semin landed in Carolina with a one-year deal worth $7 million.
How has the Semin experiment worked for the Hurricanes? Pretty well, actually. Through 30 games, Semin has eight goals and 22 assists for a total of 30 points. He finds himself second on the team in points, trailing Eric Staal by five.
As a result of Semin's strong play, Carolina elected to reward him with a five-year extension worth a reported $7 million per year, or a total of $35 million.
We have one reaction this this news: Wow.
Play consistent hockey for 30 games and you might be rewarded with $35 million. Well, you might if you're in Carolina. There's no doubt that Semin has been a valuable asset in 2013, but we were skeptical of his $7 million price tag for his initial "prove yourself" contract that Carolina gave him prior to the current season. Now, the Hurricanes are on the hook for a very risky contract for the next five seasons.
There's no question that Semin has played well this year. However, let's not forget we are just one year removed from two dismal seasons which caused his relationship with Washington to come crashing down. In 2010-11, Semin scored 28 goals but just 54 points. In 2011-12, he scored 21 and tallied 54 points. Semin looked lost and uninspired with the Capitals, which is why the two sides parted ways prior to the current season.
Carolina gambled on the winger, giving him $7 million in the hopes he might find his offensive talent that made the Capitals such a lethal offensive team in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Has Semin shown enough to warrant five years at $7 million per year? We're not convinced he has. He's played well but the sample here is extremely small. His price tag is more than those assigned to Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews and a huge cast of other stars in the NHL. Would you classify Semin in the same class as a Kane or a Toews? Probably not.
This is a story we'll have to keep an eye on in the years to come. Semin is playing strong hockey now, but let's see how well he performs now that he has a huge contract under his belt.