Alexander Semin: Should the Detroit Red Wings Sign the Russian Free-Agent?

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IJuly 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals goes after the puck during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Verizon Center on March 8, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Alexander Semin remains available almost a week after the NHL free-agency market opened on July 1. The Detroit Red Wings have been considered a possible landing spot for the Russian forward, as they were for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Parise and Suter agreed to 13-year, $98 million contracts with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation as to where the two premier free agents would play next season.

With that in mind, would signing Semin be good for the Detroit Red Wings?

The Russian winger certainly has talent; it’s his passion and commitment to the game that's often called into question.

Semin has scored 197 goals and 211 assists for 408 points in 469 games. He also has career plus/minus of plus 65, 38 game-winning goals and a 14.1 percent shooting percentage.

However, Semin’s production in the playoffs is questionable at best. In his first two postseasons with the Capitals, he averaged just over a point per game. In the last three playoff tournaments, Semin has registered only 12 points in 30 games.

Perhaps a change of scenery and the right coaches and players could help motivate the underperforming forward.

A number of Russian players have suited up for the Red Wings in the last couple of decades, many of whom enjoyed success with the club.

The Russian Five of Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Viacheslav Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov. Fedorov and Larionov were a dominant force in the 1990s, helping Detroit win the 1997 Stanley Cup. They also helped the Red Wings win the 2002 Stanley Cup.

Pavel Datsyuk is the latest Russian star to play in the Motor City and could provide support and guidance for his fellow countryman. Datsyuk is a prime example of a class player who plays with passion and determination every time he steps on the ice.

The work ethic and dedication of players like Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and the experience and expertise of Mike Babcock and Tom Renney could give Semin the push he needs to consistently perform at a high level.

With that in mind, ideally Ken Holland would sign Semin to a short-term deal to minimize risk, as there is no guarantee that he’ll be a successful addition to the Red Wings or any NHL team.

Detroit lost two key defensemen in Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, who they're still trying to replace after missing out on Suter. Therefore, Holland may not be willing to use up significant cap space on a forward like Semin.

Semin made $6.7 million last year and $6 million the year before on a pair of one-year contracts. He is likely looking to sign a longer deal this offseason, worth at least as much as his previous contracts.

Aside from the Red Wings, there are other teams that missed out on Suter and Parise that may pursue Semin, such as the Devils and Penguins.

If the Red Wings do miss out or decide against signing Semin, they may look to other safer options at forward, such as Rick Nash or Shane Doan.