What about Alex Semin?

Alex Semin

The Rangers appear to be done for the summer, with just Derek Stepan the lone remaining checkbox on new GM Jeff Gorton’s list of to-dos. But there are always little moves that can be done to improve the roster, and one of those moves could be bringing in free agent winger Alex Semin on the cheap.

Semin was just bought out of the last three years of his deal in Carolina, a deal that paid him $7 million a year. The buyout will pay him $2.3 million until 2021. Due to this, folks are assuming Semin may be more willing to accept a one-year deal for under $2 million. While this may or may not be true, there is no denying that Semin’s talent at that cost could be a steal.

Of course I say “could be” because there are a lot of questions regarding Semin. Teammates are on the record saying he has a bad work ethic. But there are other teammates on the record saying he has a solid work ethic. But the bad work ethic reputation has stuck with teams and fans, and a bad rep is hard to break. The fact is we don’t know if Semin is lazy or just has a bad rep. The media has a tendency to let these stories. Just for that reason, Semin is more likely to sign a one-year “show me” deal to prove he can play.

Another big question mark is his production last year, putting up a paltry 6-13-19 in 57 games. His scoring production has dipped each of the last three years, and he just simply hasn’t stayed healthy.

But despite the falling offensive output, Semin has remained a solid driver of puck possession. In fact, he’s been downright dominant the past two years, posting numbers over 55%. Since the output and the possession don’t match up, something was off. Travis Yost analyzed it, and the answer was simple: His goalies just weren’t making saves when he was on the ice, with the on-ice SV% dropping from 93% to 88%. From Yost’s article:

On-ice save percentages are swamped by random variance, and there is virtually no evidence that a forward can control the rate at which saves are made on a year-to-year basis. That is to say: it is extremely unlikely high on-ice save percentage is a skill, and low on-ice save percentage a deficit in a player’s game.

Even if you refuse to believe that on-ice save percentage regresses heavily to league averages, you should be convinced by the fact that Semin’s never really had a season like this one from a defensive aspect. Combine that with the fact that Semin’s never really had a season like this one from an individual goal-scoring aspect, and you really have a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances for a player who can’t seem to get out of his team’s doghouse.

And therein lies one of the silver linings to Semin: If deployed properly, he can jump-start an anemic offense. At 31 years old he’s not young, but he’s not a grandpa either. Given the right situation, Semin should have another few productive years. But, as a player who relies solely on goal scoring, if that skill truly has vanished, then he’s probably not worth the price.

Semin would be a calculated gamble for any team that signs him. In the right situation, the rewards are potentially huge. In the wrong situation, disastrous. Right now, the Rangers don’t have the cap space to add Semin, even for under $2 million. But there are moves that can be made to make room for the winger. He’d certainly be more productive, in the right deployment, than some other players on the roster.

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    • “a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances” – That is not at all what happened. I was the Carolina fan to purchase a Semin sweater and I scorned the nay-sayers. His “Que Sera, Sera” skating, last to the play, haphazard passing and turn-overs are why his numbers are so horrible.

  • No need for the Rangers to bring in a headache like Semin. Maybe if this were still the Black and Blueshirts era and Torts was running the show, but this team is not at all desperate for offense.

    They just need to let the youngsters play and flourish this season.

  • If Alex Semin is indeed available for $2M for a one year deal, I say you absolutely sign him. He (at the least) can be a cheap replacement for Hags and (at the best) can find his game under a new coach and work hard for a big 2016-2017 contract. To me, at $2M, this is a no-brainer. He also brings a sharp edge to a team with very rounded corners.

    • I couldn’t agree more. My gut tells me that with the Rangers ,Semin could be a scoring machine. Definitely worth a gamble. It isn’t as if the Rangers never had a bed signing before.

    • I can’t argue with anything there, and I absolutely loved the way you put it Sal….”He also brings a sharp edge to a team with very rounded corners.”

      Haha you got me to chuckle out of that one.That’s an analogy that can fit for this team, not taking away, how MUCH I believe in them and consider us to be one of the best teams in the league. I really wouldn’t be shocked if we were in the Semi’s again!

      However, damnnnnn, that’s an analogy that pains me a lil to agree with you on 🙂

      • Zherdev was pretty mediocre in the KHL, so I’d pass on him in AV’s system. You can’t coach apathy.

        Semin seems to be just as apathetic. I’d rather see Santorelli or Eric Fehr, guys who will actually put in effort.

    • Playing Devils advocate here, so I don’t necessarily want him but….

      Zherdev would have DEFINITELY continued to be a Ranger, regardless of the locker room issues he had, that we speculated on.

      The only reason why he didn’t continue to be a Ranger was because the arbitrator awarded him 3.9 Mill…. For Under 2 Mill for Semin now, may not be the worst thing signing him on a 1 year.

      I gotta believe, we have way enough leadership in the locker room, to keep him in check, should he try to metastasize into a cancer.

      • Rob, Your point is well taken and has merit. We, us fans, really do not know the complete story on any issue, whether it ne negotiations, salarly, locker room “going ons”.
        My idea of building a competitive franchise that isn’t a one year wonder is through the draft, with free agent signings being a compliment and not a basis. I believe a franchise builds a close team when the players grow and develop together. I know it’s a business, but players giving a “home team discount” such as Zucc has, should be more prevelent.
        I personally think Semin is too much of a rick. Give Lindbery a real shot this camp. The kid has earned it.

          • Improved play from Hayes (17 G last year), Kreider (21), Fast (6), Etem (5), Miller (10) and Yandle (2) will pick up the 38 goals lost from Hags and MSL leaving the team.

          • All that would definitely be nice. My only real concern is that if there’s an injury in the top-nine, there isn’t much scoring depth to replace it.

          • Yeah, they built a team with razor thin forward depth, just like last year. Right now the only realistic options for the top 9 are Stalberg, Lindberg and Tambellini, there are no game breakers in that bunch. It’s definitely a problem.

            The good news is, if needed, Klein can be dealt for a 2nd/3rd line tweener forward to add scoring depth. Between Klein’s cap hit and the assumed LTIR cap relief from a serious injury to a top 9 forward the Rangers can likely take on as big a salary as they need to if that situation arises. We can look at the list of potential rental forwards once the season starts to get an idea of what the deadline trade market is going to look like.

            As far as Semin, there is cap space for him but no roster space him at the moment, assuming you don’t want to expose McIlrath and Lindberg to waivers before the season starts and that Glass and Stalberg are part of the opening night 23.

        • True, you don’t build a team with one year wonders, but when you are on the cusp of a Cup run with the window possibly beginning to close, you do try to supplement your roster with more skill when you can get it. Especially when it costs no picks or prospects and has a low cash value.

          This is a team that got shut out in two critical games last year (Game 5 & 7) Having more offensive depth is huge, especially in the playoffs. Best case we could see Semin playing a role in the playoffs like Gaborik did for the Kings. Worse case you waive him… no harm.

      • I wouldn’t be opposed to signing him if he comes in very cheap, and that the contract is a two way contract. Bottom line, bust your hump and play in the bigs, or go on the bus circuit!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Bob

        I wouldn’t be opposed to signing him if he comes in dirt cheap, and is a two way agreement. Bottom line, bust your hump and play in the bigs, or join the bus circuit!!!

  • Maybe I’m a lil confused. Isn’t Lindbergh a Center and Semin a winger, (also a Righty at that?), So my point is that, I don’t think signing Semin would, or should automatically take a roster spot away from Linbergh?

    Again, I’m NOT advocating signing Semin, and am thinking out loud with this. Not a fan of players that throw punches like 7 year old girl 🙂

  • Hayes could and maybe even should switch to center
    So the 4 centers are Steph (hopefully), Brass, Lindberg and Moore
    8 wings are Nash, Zucc, Kreider, Miller, Fast, Hayes, Etem, that other guy we signed who’s name escapes me.
    With our cap concerns we can’t fit Semin in anyway so isn’t this a moot point?

  • Glass for 1.5 or Semin for 1.5?

    Kreider Stepan Nash
    Semin Brassard Zuccarello
    Miller Hayes Etem
    Stalberg Moore Fast

    Would be great! Gorton would be THE Man!

    But how does he get rid of Glass????

  • nash Brassard Zuccarello
    Kreider stepan semin
    Miller Hayes Etem
    Stalberg lindberg Fast spare forward …..moore

    mcdonagh klein
    stall boyle
    yandle girardi or mcilrath [who is faster than girardi who has now had 2 terrible playoffs in two years }

    stepan should NOT be signed for mare than 4 mil per……15 career goals in 80 playoff games ….not #1 center material


  • I question the notion that forwards don’t affect save percentage. I realize there is so much luck and noise that the effect is hard to measure, but all shots are not equal. A team that allows odd man rushes is going to give up more goals per shot than one that doesn’t. And if you allow your defensemen to pinch and don’t have responsible forwards, that is what is going to happen.

  • “His goalies weren’t making saves when he was on the ice.” Hmmmm…… Really? Is it me, or are these stats growing increasingly tiring?

  • “a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances” – That is not at all what happened. I was the Carolina fan to purchase a Semin sweater and I scorned the nay-sayers. His “Que Sera, Sera” skating, last to the play, haphazard passing and turn-overs are why his numbers are so horrible.

  • Let’s not overthink this. There’s a reason why someone with all that talent continues to wear out his welcome wherever he goes. To all the fans who want us to sign him, I have a question. Do you assume that we’re just so much smarter than Carolina? If they are willing to eat $ just to jettison him from the lineup, they obviously consider it addition by subtraction. Learn from their mistake and don’t pick up their garbage.

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