The Hurricanes took a gamble by signing Alexander Semin to a one-year, $7 million contract. (Mitchell Layton/NHLI/Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
It’s no surprise that the Carolina Hurricanes signed Alexander Semin; GM Jim Rutherford said three weeks ago he’d explore the possibility. And it’s no surprise he got a one-year contract; Rutherford and others acknowledged the player’s on-ice reputation and expressed reluctance to make a longer commitment. But $7 million for that one year? That’s a surprise.
The combination of the short term and high value of the contract is strange. Every GM has signed players to one-year deals, but a one-year deal at this sort of money is very unusual. If a player is worth $7 million, you typically want to lock him up for a while.
Here are some of the other players making $7 million next season, according to CapGeek.com: Jarome Iginla, Danny Briere, Mike Cammalleri, Joe Thornton, Brent Seabrook, Pekka Rinne. Semin could be, but hasn’t been, in that class of NHL performer. When Columbus signed defenseman James Wisniewski for $7 million last summer, a lot of people were aghast. They are probably equally aghast at Alexander Semin receiving that number.
We’ve discussed Semin’s situation before, as recently as two weeks ago. And Semin may have $7 million-type talent. But does he display it often enough to warrant that kind of money?
“Alex Semin is like a lot of hurricanes,” tweeted Hockey News columnist Adam Proteau. “it’s impossible to predict when he’ll show up, & his peak season is usually in early September.”
Clever, eh? Semin’s peak season may or may not be in training camp, when optimism abounds and everyone gawks at his world-class shot and puck skills, touting him as a potential game-breaker. When the puck drops in earnest, however, he turns capricious. One thing has become more certain in recent seasons: Semin tends to fade over the course of the campaign — he’s generally more productive in the first half than the second half — and he’s been pretty ineffective in the playoffs.