As of right now, there are three forwards guaranteed to be in Ottawa's top six: Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris. Should Daniel Alfredsson choose to return, he will be a fourth. For the remaining two spots, the candidates are Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad, Peter Regin, Colin Greening, Guillaume Latendresse and perhaps even Mark Stone. All of these players are either inexperienced or coming off injuries. But what if the Senators were to add the talents of Alexander Semin?
Semin is coming off a 54-point season in 77 games, his lowest points/game total since he had 42 points in 63 games in 2007-2008. How much of that was Semin and how much of that was due to the coaching of Dale Hunter? Under Hunter, the Capitals went from being one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NHL to a very conservative defensive style. Alexander Ovechkin's 65 points was 20 points less than any other season in his career.
As Craig Button pointed out, over the last four years, not too many forwards have outperformed Semin. He has 271 points in 277 games in that span, ranking 13th in the NHL in points/game. Despite playing mostly with Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera, Semin had the second best possession numbers on the Capitals last season. Those numbers would be better than any Ottawa forward except Alfredsson.
More after the jump.
Should the Senators be able to sign Semin, their forward group would look something like this:
Condra, Butler as spares.
That is one excellent set of forwards, with the potential for three 30-goal scorers on the top line, an above average second line and even a third scoring line. The fourth line centred by Smith would be one of the best in the league.
What would it take to get Semin? The player has long been labelled, fairly or unfairly (unfairly in my opinion), as being perceived as lazy, "enigmatic" and other things you often hear of Russian players. A player he has often been compared to is Alex Kovalev. Would a 28-year old Alex Kovalev be so bad though?
Maybe some of Semin's numbers were inflated due to his linemates, but he would be playing with one of the best passers in the game in Jason Spezza. Unlike acquiring Rick Nash, the Senators wouldn't have to give up any assets. Unlike signing Zach Parise, the Senators wouldn't have to commit to a ridiculous term either.
Last season, Semin played under a 1-year deal worth $6.7 million. A year in Dale Hunter's purgatory hasn't increase his value and a similar deal would have very little risk, with the Senators currently under the salary cap floor. Even a 2 or 3 year deal in the $5 million per season range would provide excellent value for a player that has scored 20 or more goals for six straight season, including seasons of 34, 38 and 40.
I don't know if any NHL team will give him an offer worthy of his history, and he might very well return to Russia. Given the recent deal for Parise however, Semin might prove to provide better value.