It's no secret that Alexander Semin remains one of the best unrestricted free agents on the NHL market. Based on statistics alone, he is by far the best offensive talent still available, arguably ever, this offseason.
If that holds true, why has Semin remained on the market?
There are several reasons for this, some caused by Semin himself, and others, well...
You be the judge.
This is easily Semin's biggest downfall. Judging by his medical report in the NHL thus far, his durability as a professional is questionable at best.
He has yet to play a full season in the NHL, and now at the age of 28, it would be difficult to assume his proneness to injury will ever go away.
Therefore, the assumption can be made that Semin, though extremely talented, will never be able to perform injury-free for a full 82-game season in the NHL.
Pressure from KHL
The KHL has been criticized for going after NHL talent, making it very difficult for general managers to build teams with international players, more specifically, Russian players.
The same remains in the case of Semin.
An early July report on CBSSports.com suggested that Semin was offered a three-year $30 million contract from the Sergei Federov-owned CSKA Moscow. If money was the issue, Semin would probably be on a flight back to Russia.
He will certainly not receive the same money in the NHL, so why is he still waiting?
Looks like Semin wants to stay in North America, maybe to prove himself?
Only Alexander Semin knows.
Comments by the TSN Hockey Panel
According to a National Post report, the comments made by Pierre McGuire and Marc Crawford could have a big impact on Semin's future in the NHL.
In fact, his agent has been quoted saying, "The poison is out and I can't take it back."
Though the comments by the TSN panel may have been taken seriously by some teams, it doesn't seem like it's going to do much damage.
The Washington Capitals have lacked leadership for many years, and to put that problem on Semin is wrong.
Alexander Ovechkin made $9,538,462 last season and wore the C on his jersey. Nicklas Backstrom made the same money as Semin and was injured for almost half the season.
Semin played 77 games and scored 54 points, while also a plus-9. Ovechkin was a minus-8, and Backstrom, while averaging a point-per-game, only maintained a minus-4.
He's had a 40 goal season and has almost been a career point-per-game player. He surely does not belong on "the island of misfit toys." Tisk-tisk Marc Crawford.
"The ultimate coach killer" and "loser" is definitely a stretch. The Washington Capitals have much bigger problems outside of Semin, and the comments by the TSN panel should not be taken seriously.
In the end...
Though injuries will continue to haunt Semin, he could still be a wonderful asset on several NHL squads.
It wouldn't be smart to sign him as a complimenting franchise player. But, rest assured, he and the team would benefit greatly if he played alongside, say...
Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk/Henrik Zetterberg or Eric Staal/Jordan Staal?
Semin has already received an offer from the KHL, but remains on the NHL market. That should say a lot about his current desires.
So, NHL teams with a star-studded cast and great leadership: if you're looking for an elite-level goal-scorer to help you win that Stanley Cup, look no further, Semin could be your man.
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