By John Grant, Staff Writer | Follow him on Twitter
The Carolina Hurricanes announced the signing of Alexander Semin today. The deal is for 1 year and will pay him $7 million.
Semin signs with the Hurricanes solidifying a top six that has already upgraded with the addition of Jordan Staal at the draft. It is widely believed the Semin will play alongside both Staal brothers in training camp. In recent weeks, Head Coach Kirk Muller has already said he plans to align Eric and Jordan to begin camp while Jim Rutherford continued his search for another elite top-six winger to join them. The search appears to have ended today with the signing of Semin.
Semin has seen a drop off from his 70 point 30+ goal seasons as he finished last season with 21 goals 33 assists. He will have ample opportunity under Muller to use his creativity to find the scoring dominance he enjoyed in 2009-2010 when he scored 40 goals.
The trade for Jordan Staal gave many the feeling that the Hurricanes have upgraded to a playoff team as Semin has upgraded the Hurricanes even more to a Stanley Cup contending team. Semin is often the target of criticism for his demeanor off the ice as he is reported to be moody and standoffish. The often controversial Pierre McGuire of TSN commented on Semin during the July 1st Free Agent Frenzy show:
Pierre McGuire: “This is not a great teammate, I’m telling ya right now. Not a good guy to have around your group unless you got unbelievably strong leadership. He’s the ultimate coach killer, that’s what he is.”
Though very strong words, the Hurricanes boast strong leaders all the way up to Jim Rutherford who will not stand for attitude issues. Rutherford, openly hesitant to lock up Semin beyond one year, briefly echoed McGuire’s comments on July 5th to the media:
“We wouldn’t want to get locked in to anything, because we’ve all heard the stories about him. We do like his skill level. It could be that we could bring him in for a year, get to know him and go from there in terms of considering something longer term.”
Rutherford seems to have put the preconceived notions aside with the Signing of Semin. Giving him a 1-year deal Rutherford will use that time to assess Semin’s chemistry with the Hurricanes.
Many of the teams constantly linked to all high end free agents were also reported to have interest in Semin which has seen Carolina becoming quite a fascinating destination for talent. Even if Semin was not Rutherford’s Plan-A for this offseason, Semin will fit in nicely and give the Hurricanes a scoring threat while proving himself as a valuable teammate. If this outing is not a great fit it buys Rutherford more time over the next year to find the long-term solution for an elite winger.