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Is Alex Semin An Option?

July 11, 2011, by

The Washington Capitals have significant salary cap issues.  They need to get Karl Alzner under contract, but currently sit over the regular season salary cap and have very little wiggle room under the summer cap.  They need to shed salary, and they need to do it fast.  With the acquisition of Troy Brouwer, the signing of Joel Ward, and the re-signing of Brooks Laich, Alex Semin and his $6.7 million cap hit all of a sudden looks like a spare part.  A talented spare part, but a spare part nonetheless.

The Caps may not have a desire to get rid of him, but the salary cap dictates that they must listen to options, specifically options that don’t involve much salary coming back.  The Rangers will have about $3 million of extra cap space to work with once they re-sign Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky, which does give them some wiggle room to get a trade done.

Assuming Erik Christensen is swapped with a veteran defenseman around the same salary ($925,000), and the Rangers spend $9.5 million to sign their RFAs, they will have about $3.6 million of cap space to work with.  Running the numbers for both teams (via CapGeek), a trade involving the Caps and the Rangers where only Semin and Wojtek Wolski are the players under contract swapping teams works for both teams*.  Naturally, the Rangers will have to include more to land Semin, but the numbers work out surprisingly well for both teams.

*-The numbers work, but it puts the Rangers right up at the cap (in my scenario, they are $200k over, but I’d assume that can be dealt with).

What kind of package lands Semin from a Caps team in desperate need to get under the cap?  Since the Caps are over the cap, they will likely accept a deal for less than Semin’s worth, much like the way the Predators had to trade Cody Franson to dump Matt Lombardi’s contract.  Assume it would take Wolski, a good defensive prospect, and a draft pick or two.  The Rangers are not going to be willing to part with either Dylan McIlrath,Tim Erixon, or Michael Del Zotto, so assume this would be along the lines of Pavel Valentenko  or Tomas Kundratek.  The pick would likely be a 2nd round pick, as the Rangers are generally unwilling to deal first round picks.

Do I think this is a likely scenario? No, I do not.  However, I would be shocked if Glen Sather isn’t kicking the tires on this one, as a line of Semin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik would be lethal.  Or, to balance things out, a top two lines of Dubinsky-Richards-Gaborik and Semin-Artem Anisimov-Callahan would be lethal and balanced.  An acquisition of Semin makes a statement that the Rangers are going for it, and they are going for it now.  The more likely scenario is that the Caps deal a defenseman, but they may have to look into dealing Semin instead/as well.


  1. Zen says:

    Semin has been in the back of mind ever since the team locked up BR. While Richards will provide so much to this team, the one thing they still lack is enough goal-scoring. BR will obviously help Gabby get on track, but that is not enough. Semin would most assuredly take care of the goal-scoring problem and push this team to another level. I would go nuts if they got him.

    It is worth noting that I have suggested him on some Ranger message boards in the last few weeks, and many fans feel he isn’t a good fit for this team. I say that any time you can get as lethal a goal-scorer as Semin is, you have to do it… if the price is reasonable. I am not overly concerned about the kid’s back-checking either. He is an ELITE goal-scorer.

  2. Walt says:

    I think this guy would be a cancer in the locker room. What kind of a statement would this be to Dubi, Cally, and even Boyle, that they are willing to throw $6.7 mil for this part time player. He has no gonads, and when pushed, he disapears. Let the Caps worry about tradeing him to another team, he just won’t fit with the current roster we have.

    As for giving up the d-men in question, and a draft pick, for a guy who has one yeaar left on his contract, well I’m not for it at all. The man is a puss, and won’t fight along the boards, or any player for that matter. That is just me, but what do I know!!!!!

    • Zen says:

      Not everyone is a tough guy, Walt. Pavel Bure was as soft as they come, but he was one of the best goal-scorers in the history of the game.

      What do you mean by part time player? Injuries?

      • The Suit says:

        I agree with Walt. Part of the Caps’ problem with not going deep in the post-season is guys like Semin and Backstrom don’t battle for pucks along the boards, they don’t backcheck or break up plays in the DZ, etc. The little things that it takes to win games.

        Another words, they are soft…

        • Zen says:

          There is a big difference between having one guy on your team that plays like this and there being a handful of them. We have guys that do the little things, but the problem is that THEY CAN’T SCORE. We need the players that can, even it means that they might be weak on the defensive side of the ice. Pavel Bure didn’t play defense once in his career.

      • Walt says:

        What I mean by part time is that when the going gets tough, he’s gone for a nice skate away from the action. I realize that there are plenty of players who aren’t tough guys, but this one takes the cake!

    • Clifford says:

      Walt, I’m a Caps fan and you took the words right out of my mouth. I can’t stand Alexander Semin. Granted, he’s got hands of gold with a superior wrist shot. But my problems with him stem from the fact that he can look like a cross between a young Dennis Savard and a Glenn Anderson one night, and then disappear for the next 8 games–so much so that you’d think Boudreau had him as a healthy scratch. He reminds me of Jaromir Jagr in the wrong way–he doesn’t forecheck, he never back checks, and a collectors item would be any photograph of him running into an opposing player in the corners or in front of either net. UN-like Jaromir, though, Alexander is wildly inconsistent: he can score four highlight reel goals where he stick-handles through the entire team and unleashes a laser past the opposing goalie leaving everyone stunned with the disdainful ease with which he did it, and then he’ll let his man skate past him like a human turnstile the very next minute. And he commits penalties that are dumb beyond belief. What he needs, in my opinion, is a kick ass Scotty Bowman, Jacques Lemaire,Toe Blake type coach who’ll force him to play both sides of the puck or else sit him the F##K down if he doesn’t. But Washington’s coach is almost as dumb bell as Alex is as far as I’m concerned. It’s just that Double B’s had so much offensive talent at his disposal over the years that it’s masked the stupidity of his personnel moves (vis a vis Braden Holtby and his 12-2 record and 1.95 GAA last season which got him a one way ticket back to Hershey after Michael Neuvirth returned from the injured list–not to mention Bruce’s decision to acquire Tomas Vokoun and immediately install him as their #1 goalie even though the Panthers had a sub-.500 record with him between the pipes)… But I digress. Alex belongs in the Euro league where the play is more wide open and less physically demanding. Otherwise you’d mainly want this guy on the power play and not much more depending on how the rest of your team is constituted…

      Santa Monica

      • David says:

        As another Caps fan, I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment of Vokoun. The Panthers were a terrible team last year defensively, yet Vokoun’s numbers were still stellar. I think this speaks volumes about his individual talent.

        While I agree that Holtby is the future of the franchise, I think having a solid, dependable force in net for a year is just what the doctor ordered for the Capitals. Let Holtby mature a little bit (rather than bump up and become shaky like our other young goaltenders of late…)

        In regards to Semin, I doubt a trade is going to happen given the contract Alzner signed, and the (cap saving) prospect of Poti on the IR, I think Semin be in DC for at least one more year. Hopefully he’ll grow a pair…

  3. mark says:

    The message it would send, is that we want to win now… what better of a message could you possibly ask for… it is a no brainer if the caps would actaully deal him to us… We need a LWinger until (and if) our prospects develope… he is on a 1 year deal so you won’t get any of that lazy Russian syndrome some players exhibit… and as a Ranger’s fan who has seen the Caps a lot in the past playoffs, wouldn’t you want this guys wrist shot on your 1st or second line… and our power play unit???

    No brainer, if its a possibility it needs to get done…

  4. The Suit says:

    I’m not a big Semin fan, that’s been well documented on this site. And as far as making a big trade for a goal scorer, I’d rather wait and see what the kids can do.

    I’d rather have a 30 goal scorer who can play both sides of the ice than a 40 goal scorer who disappears when he isn’t scoring. Semin is also very injury prone.

    If Thomas and Kreider don’t live up to expectations THEN I would consider making a move for an “elite” goal scorer. And it probably still wouldn’t be for a guy who doesn’t backcheck.

    • Zen says:

      I like your argument here against Semin better (lol), but this would mean waiting at least 3 years. Neither Thomas or Krieder will be rookies until next year and rarely does an NHL player make a significant impact in their rookie year. Gaborik could be gone by then, Richards will be 34, and Henrik will likely be out of his prime. Though Semin would be a risk, so would waiting.

      • The Suit says:

        I like your argument better here too, but in order to get Semin youd likely have to give up a Kreider or a Thomas and i just dont think Semin is that guy to risk it all on. Sharp? Sure. Kessler? You bet. Those guys are complete hockey players.

        • Zen says:

          I wouldn’t expect to have to give up either of those players to get Semin. If so, then I wouldn’t want him either.

  5. mug25 says:

    Where does this come from? A rumor? An idea? Out of thin air?

    • The Suit says:

      Thin air. Or as the media would call it. A rumor from “sources.”

    • Dave says:

      It’s a theoretical analysis.

    • Zen says:

      It has been rumored for awhile that Washington wanted to create a shake-up in their forward group. Too many highly-skilled, yet one-dimensional players rarely lead to success in the post season.

      • The Suit says:

        Yet you want him on your team? Youre confusing me now bro haha.

        • Zen says:

          No confusion. It is okay to have one player on your team like that… especially when you have a truckload of two-way players on the same line with him. The problem with Washington is that they have a ton of those types of players…which won’t win you anything in the postseason when defense takes over.

  6. Section 121 says:

    Forget Semin, I would “kick the tires” to get Kane from the Jets (that’s still weird). Give them Wolski, MZA, EC, and Johnson/Talbot (or both).

    They desperately need a goalie and they also need to get up to the cap floor; done and done.

    Yes, thin air.

    • Dave says:

      Uh. Please tell me you’re not serious about that Evander Kane proposal. You want him, be ready to part with Dubinsky, Kreider, a 1st and then more.

      • Andrew says:

        The Jets would be utterly delusional to demand that for him, yes, it would be as a method to ward off teams, but still, an established roster player, a top prospect and a first round pick for a player that, while he is a great prospect, is still largely unproven after two seasons at the NHL level. He had 43 pts last season….not exactly setting the world on fire at this point in his career is he?

      • Section 121 says:

        He’s still 19! And he has two yrs under his belt.

        Give up Kreider then, done. Yes, done.

        • Dave says:

          Kane is the face of their franchise. He’s 19, a great young power forward. You are kidding yourself if you think spare parts will get it done.

          If they take Kreider straight up for Kane, I take it and run away laughing.

          • Andrew says:

            I didn’t say spare parts, I simply said that what you said originally was far too high. I agree that Kreider alone probably wouldn’t be enough, probably Kreider and a 1st, or Kreider, a mid-level prospect, i.e. Valentenko or Kundratek and a early round draft pick could probably get negotiations started. But is he really the face of their franchise? I guess I never really thought about it much but it just seems slightly premature, despite his emerging abilities.

            That being said, I don’t particularly want to give up on Kreider just yet. Everything I’ve heard is that he has tremendous ability and just needs to put it all together, here’s to hoping that happens sooner rather than later.

        • Jude says:

          I wouldnt give up dubi maybe krieder, but if you could package mdz a 1st rounder and another prospect id do it. This guy is a beast. He can score but hes tough too, i remember he knocked out matt cooke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLqpw_uKyds) which should make any hockey fan love him.

      • Section 121 says:

        Kreider = top prospect
        Wolski = established player with +
        EC = utility, depth
        Johnson or Talbot = goalie need

        Close? Closer?

        • Jude says:

          i think you could get it done for kreider mdz 1 rounder

        • Andrew says:

          I suppose, it may be just me, but I think any 4 for 1 trade for a player who is still largely just potential is a lot. I wouldn’t be particularly disappointed to see any of Wolski, EC or either of the goalies go however.

          While this is all speculative, I will just say the only way that we trade Kreider is if he intimates that he isn’t going to sign a contract with the Rangers. The team simply does not have the surplus of offensive ability in our prospect system as we do in defense.

        • Dave says:

          Kreider, MDZ, 1st…as a start.

          You are severely undervaluing Kane and over valuing Rangers assets.

        • Section 121 says:

          I was just looking at it from the Jets’ perspective too – they need offense and a goalie as they are pretty stacked on D right now with Byfuglien, Enstrom, Bogosian, Oduya, & Hainsey etc.

          • Andrew says:

            Maybe I am, I’ve just never been very enthused about trading away a lot of assets for potential that is still as of yet unrealized.

            For example, hough I am thrilled to have him in the system, I thought that giving up Horak and 2 2nd round picks for Erixon was a hefty sum, especially considering he was either going to be traded or re-enter the draft. Though I didn’t rate Horak very highly, giving up both our 2nds seemed a bit high to me.

            On another note, the Thrashers/Jets traded Kovalchuk(10 times the player Kane is at this point in his career) for Oduya, Bergfors, Cormier and a 1st, a deal that is not that unlike the initial proposal of Dubi, Kreider and a first and more. To reiterate, that much for an, in my opinion at least, still unproven 19 year old, is a hell of a lot, as is any combination of 2 our top 5 prospects and a first.

            • Andrew says:

              Edit, I forgot to mention that Kovalchuk was in the last year of his contract and probably would have demanded much larger compensation had that not been the case.

        • Section 121 says:

          Kreider, Wolski, Johnson/Talbot/Stajcer,
          1st, and two of (Hagelin, Lindberg, Bourque, MZA, Kundratek, or Valentenko)

          Now are we talking?

    • Zen says:

      The difference between Semin & Kane is there is actually a reason for Semin to be traded, given his one-dimensionality, Washington in need of a shake-up, and Semin’s UFA status after this year. Why would the Jets trade Kane??? Not only that, but the conversation goes a step further and we end up offering smoking pile ‘o crap for him.

      I think Dave got a couple more gray hairs after this mini reply thread… lol.

      • Andrew says:

        I think everyone realized we were speaking in hypotheticals. Obviously the Jets have no reason to trade Kane, we were just discussing what each of us thought his theoretical trade value would be.

  7. Matt J says:

    Shit, I see i’m getting into this conversation late. Anyway let me just say my opinion anyway as I always do.

    This is one of those moves that makes us contenders if all goes well. However, I don’t think it gets done now. The only possible way I see Semin coming here is if the Caps are injury plagued, or are having a bad season. I only see us getting a small rental of Semin. Also, it depends what the Caps are looking for. If it’s just a first rounder and prospect, done deal.

    I’m also not a fan of the cap hit, but if we win the cup I won’t complain.

    • Zen says:

      The cap hit is only for this year. Why would it matter?

      • Matt J says:

        Why take a risk on a rental? Semin wanders around the ice. There are no wanderers in Torts system. His stats will drop if he plays our system.

        • The Suit says:

          Yes! Someone gets it! And he even looked past stats and observed a system. Silk tie for you Matt J!

          • Zen says:

            If we went out and just got players that fit the system, then we would continue not scoring for the next decade.

            • The Suit says:

              I suppose Messier and Graves fitting into Keenan’s system didn’t work for ya huh?

  8. Alan says:

    There are several reasons for the Washington Capital’s lack of success in the playoffs. Alexander Semin is one of them. No Thanks.

  9. Mikeyyyy says:

    Too old to change his ways. Rather rake the risk on wowo

  10. timranger1 says:

    what are you guys smoking,he is LETHAL,wicked wrist shot, unbelievable skater,I don’t want him to fight,or do the dirty work,I want him to score….He would give us two real threat lines,he killed us practically all by himself last year,and, he will want to get even with the caps for trading him,he is only signed for one year…………where do I sign,I want,and would love him in one of our jerseys,let prust and boyle do the dirty work,let semin score score score…

    • The Suit says:

      No one is asking him to fight or stand in the crease…we’re asking him to backcheck, forecheck, take the puck away, ya know things that help win hockey games. Watch the way Messier and Graves played. Perhaps you’ll have a better understanding of what a complete hockey player is.

  11. voidoid says:

    A little late to the party here.

    What’s the over/under on how many shifts into his first game before Torts benches Semin for lazy play?

    Let’s just re-sign Zherdev if we want a sniper to spend the season in the doghouse.

  12. Jose says:

    Can pavelski play wing because I got a friend in San Jose and he says a lot of fans wouldn’t mind seeing him leave and with Thornton marleau and couture he can be taken but Id rather get clowe