Flames 2012 Free Agent Targets: Alex Semin

Kent Wilson
June 28 2012 01:57PM

Since the lock-out, only nine players have scored at a greater goal per game pace than Alex Semin. He is also top-30 in terms of points/game (23rd), ranking ahead of guys like Ryan Getzlaf (24th), Patrick Kane (25th), Anze Kopitar (27th) Jonathan Toews (29th), Patrick Marleau (30th) and Rick Nash (33rd). The only season in his entire career when he didn't manage to score 20 or more goals was his rookie campaign back before the lock-out. 

So whatever else you might think about Semin, let's first establish that he is an excellent-to-elite offensive player in this league.

The Other Numbers

Im the first to acknowlege that output doesn't necessarily tell you how good or bad a player is. The issue with Semin is his underlying numbers are all universally good as well.

Last year, for instance, which is generally considered one of his worst and is the prime reason he'll be available on July 1, Semin's relative corsi rate was +11.0/60. Meaning - the Caps directed 11 more puck on net for/against when Semin was on the ice versus when he was on the bench . The only guy above him was Mathieu Perrault, a youngster who skated against 4th liners.

Semin's zone start wasn't outrageous either (51.7%) - he finished right in the middle of the pack and below many of his top-6 peers on the Caps who nevertheless finished with worse possession metrics.

Semin was similarly impressive in terms of scoring chances. Neil Greenberg's count shows Semin as the Capitals team leader in scoring chance ratio (54.8%) amongst regular skaters. Only tweener Keith Aucoin had a better rate, and he only appeared in 20 games.

Last year wasn't a fluke either. Semin has been top-3 in Washington for the last three years by these measures, and has finished top-4 in each of the last five.

So the 28-year old is one of the best snipers in the league and has consistently driven the play in the right direction during his career. Those are the good points.

The Bad News

There are a few reasons the Capitals are walking away from Semin: he is perceived to have work ethic issues, he takes altogether too many penalties and he's fragile.

The first concern is one that tends to dog Russian or European players who don't tend to play balls-to-wall style hockey. I can't speculate on his care level, but can say that apparently even a half interested Alexander Semin can score and drive play more effectively than most of his peers.

Semin also plays a sort of Kristian Huselius high-risk style game where he can look dominant if his moves and maneuvers work, but can also seem like a giant liability if they don't. This can end up turning a portion of the fan base (and probably his coaching staff) against them if he goes into a dry spell.

More concerning is his predilection for taking bad stick penalties all over the ice. Despite being fast, shifty and clever with the puck, Semin took the most minors on his club last year (tied with new Flame Dennis Wideman). He also had a terrible penalty differential, only drawing 12 minors himself. Good offensive forwards who spend more time at the good end of the rink shouldn't be that far underwater when it comes to penalties taken and drawn. This bad habit likely exacerbates perceptions that he is careless or lazy. And for good reason.

In addition, Semin always has a hard time staying healthy. He has never appeared in a full 82 game schedule over his seven year career. He tends to average about 67 contests per season, so any team who signs him can bet on Semin being on the sidelines for 15-20 games.

On top of all that, of course, is the ever present KHL factor. Semin has never shown any real interest in fleeing back to Russia, but it's possible if things get rocky down the road he'll choose to take his ball and go home.

Also - he's a terrible fighter.

Conclusion

Semin is a high quality offensive talent who, at 28, could fill a need for the Flames, who are desperate for a few more forward stars who are closer to their peak than their retirement. He can score, can drive play north and will likely come much cheaper than a guy like Parise because of some of the question marks surrounding him,

On the other hand, Semin can be frustrating player to watch and deal with during dry patches, takes altogether too many penalties and is an injury/fight concern. Like the rest of the Capitals, his star power seems to have peaked in 2009-10 and is slowly slowly fading over time, so even though he's a got a couple of years before he hits 30, the days of Semin being a legit point-per-game guy may be over.

Personally, I think Semin warrants at least a call from Jay Feaster despite some of the concerns. If his issues sink his stock far enough, the Flames may be able to snag him for a relatively cheap ticket which would make the risks involved acceptable given the potential upside.

Quick Hits - JayBo Rumors

The word making it's way through the media is that the Tampa Bay Lightning have interest in Jay Bouwmeester. It makes sense because the Bolt's blueline is rather bare outside of Victor Hedman. Eric Brewer is locked up for awhile. Ditto Mattias Ohlund (who is a shadow of the shut-down defender he once was). After that, it's MA Bergeron, Brendan Mikkelson and Brian Lee. Yikes.

So you can see why the grapevine is whispering that Yzerman would like to add JayBo. The issue is return, because they probably wouldn't want to absorb the full $6.68M cap hit. Which is why the rumor is about interest, rather than a potential trade.

Feel free to speculate hypothetical returns in the comments.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Casey
June 28 2012, 02:01PM
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Agreed - Semin is a terrible fighter.

If the Flames are serious about wanting "character" players, and don't see how they go after Semin.

I get why they might want to trade Jay, but not excited about a top 4 of Giordano, Wideman, Butler, and ???

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#2 Monaertchi
June 28 2012, 02:10PM
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If the price is right, the Flames could make use of a talented scorer.

I don't think every player on a team needs to be a "character" guy, they just need to have enough of them. Some will say that Iggy is a "character" guy, personally I don't buy it.

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#3 sanehockey
June 28 2012, 02:16PM
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Flames need a center. I know it's craaaaazy (not sane as my handle would imply) If we unloaded stajan and j-bo, roughly 10 mill for two more years and they shipped lecav back the money would be almost the same, the cap would reduce to calgary, the actual $ would reduce to tampa and all positions are filled. With feaster winning a cup with vinny being his #1 guy and a force in those playoffs.... vinny is signed for I think 10 kmore years so it'd be crazy...

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#4 Parallex
June 28 2012, 02:16PM
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Semin: Meh, he'll want more then I'd be willing to pay and I can't help but have this feeling like he's the type of guy who'd fall on his face here (talent wise).

Hypothetical Returns: None, because trading Bouwmeester (assuming they don't have the inside track on Suter and just need to clear space for him) would be really effing stupid. Monsterously stupid even... essentually swapping out Bouwmeester for Wideman would be 1 step forward 2 steps back. Wideman would go from a good move to improve the team to a waste of money, time, and a 5th round pick.

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#5 RKD
June 28 2012, 02:20PM
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Semin would definitely bolster the Flames on the RW, however, he like Ovechkin has had declining point totals.

Semin put up 54 points the past two seasons, hardly anything to get excited about. He would have to return to his 79 and 84 point form. His cap hit is fairly high. Is he a 'hate to lose' guy? Not by a country mile.

Feaster said he wants to add a top six forward, so I guess we will wait and see.

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#6 TheGWH
June 28 2012, 02:34PM
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"Alex's Semin was similarly impressive in terms of scoring chances."

Sorry Kent, but this made me laugh.

Anyways, I get really really frustrated with players like Semin who don't give it their all every shift. So regardless of goal production, I'm not a huge fan of bringing Semin in, a) because he's lazy, and b) because it would take a 6 year deal or something to get signed and I'm not sure I want him for that long at his age.

As for the Bouwmeester rumour: Would Yzerman do a Bouwmeester for their 2013 first round pick straight up? Lord knows they have the cap space and are in desperate need of a defenseman. However, would the TBL be willing to give up a 1st round pick in such a deep 2013 draft?

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#8 gussey
June 28 2012, 02:42PM
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@sanehockey I've said it before, ill say it again. Lecav is coming here. Prepare yourselves. I bet the holdup on the deal is trying to get stajen in.

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#9 Alt
June 28 2012, 02:47PM
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Hard to see Semin in Flames silks.If skill/character/intelligent/work ethic are the identity,s Feaster,s been preaching ,then Semin has only half of the above.Trading away JBO for a forward is definetely a, 2 steps back, move as well.Babchuk and Butler can go

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#10 Tears of RED
June 28 2012, 02:49PM
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Having watch a few Caps games during the playoffs, I have to say that the main reason for Semin's ability to drive play in the right direction is due to his ability to take the puck and individually skated out of his own zone and get a shot on net. He doesn't make his line mates better but the dude has world class skills.

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#11 T&A4Flames
June 28 2012, 03:44PM
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So, Semin wouldn't fit the 4th line role too well, then. Oh well.

I'm not sure what the return would be from TB that would make sense for CGY. They certainly wouldn't be my 1st choice to deal with for Bouw. Sad to say, but I think Babchuk or Smith for sure would be an upgrade for them.

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#12 everton fc
June 28 2012, 04:28PM
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@gussey:

You may be right about Vinny LeC. And if they mvoe Bouwmeester for the aging Lecavlier, who hasn't played a complete season, nor put up more than 60 pts in the past 2 seasons... With that contract (anyone know how many years are left on that albatross?)... Well,... I don't know what to say.

We'd be even more overloaded on the left side, as I'd assume Cammy would move back to wing. Makes no sense.

The only player I'd be interested in on the Bolts is Connelly. They have nothing else we need.

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#13 Baalzamon
June 28 2012, 04:35PM
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"We'd be even more overloaded on the left side, as I'd assume Cammy would move back to wing."

Cammalleri has almost exclusively played RW in the NHL. Really the only times he hasn't are when he's played with Iginla (or as a center)

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#14 RKD
June 28 2012, 04:47PM
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Hearing stories Iginla has rejected two contract extension offers from the Flames. First off, he can't sign until July 1, second of all it's still really early and just a story.

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#15 everton fc
June 28 2012, 04:47PM
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You know, Baalzamon, that's what I thought. Thought Cammy was on the RW.

This means Vinny LeC may be coming here. Might work out here. Though I think it wise to keep Bouwmseeter, unless we can get a great deal for him.

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#16 Domebeers.com
June 28 2012, 04:48PM
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I'm more into Semin than Bibi Jones.

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#17 schevvy
June 28 2012, 04:50PM
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PLEASE NO LECAVALIER. GOD NO.

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#19 BurningSensation
June 28 2012, 05:00PM
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Semin is the classic 'million dollar arm, 10 cent head', he's arguably got a better arsenal of shots than Ovie and even his farts can break the sound barrier.

If the Flames are serious about going balls-to-the-wall offensively Semin would be a perfect fit on the 2nd line/1st unit PP.

I also think that with the depth of scoring wingers on the market (Nash, Parise, Ryan), Semin can be had cheaply by comparison.

I don't see a fit with TBay and JBo. They can't send a top 4 D man back, and Lecavalier's contract is even more ridiculous than JBo's. Connelly is the one excellent piece I would want in a deal, but I just don't see it working.

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#20 RKD
June 28 2012, 05:03PM
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Not sure if I see Vinny coming here, but he is one year younger than Jokinen, he's been banged up the last two seasons. Vinny put up 54 and 49 points respectively.

The seasons prior to that he had point totals of 70, 67, 92, and 108. 6-4 208lbs, never know what Feaster could do if he doesn't land the free agents he wants.

Vinny is also an overall -112, yikes!

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#21 Graham
June 28 2012, 05:06PM
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Semin is a guy that you love one game and hate the next, but you can't deny the pure offensive talent. He would add some flash and excitement to the Flames. i would prefer a natural center, but at a decent price he's worth a look.

JBo to Tampa is interesting, JBo plus plus for Purcell, but you are more likely looking at bringing back a large contract, a Ryan Malone for example.... 3 years left at $4.5 million. Big winger, but another 32 year old vet.

I wouldn't mind finding a way to get Keith Aulie back in the fold

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#22 Kevin R
June 28 2012, 05:17PM
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@RKD: You have just touched our worst nightmare & thats Iggy dragging ourt his extension to final hour & potentially we have none & he walks for no return at all. The good thing is they are trying to extend him. If he doesnt extend, Feaster has to move him just like Shero did with Staal. No choice. This thing will either be happy, Iggy has retirement contract with Flames or it gets ugly.

Absolutely no way to Vinny. That contract is madness, pure madness. St Louis is way better option, Rattie & Stewart & Ill be satisfied. no to Semin as well. Even the name has a "we're screwed" connotation to it.

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#23 SmellOfVictory
June 28 2012, 05:33PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

So, Semin wouldn't fit the 4th line role too well, then. Oh well.

I'm not sure what the return would be from TB that would make sense for CGY. They certainly wouldn't be my 1st choice to deal with for Bouw. Sad to say, but I think Babchuk or Smith for sure would be an upgrade for them.

Unless Cervenka is the new hockey Jesus, I think the Flames are past the tinkering point. Any return that roughly equated or exceeded two first rounders would make sense in my book.

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#24 DangleSnipeCelly
June 28 2012, 05:59PM
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Has to be Connelly coming back from TB otherwise why even deal if you're the Flames. I'd like to see a pick out of the deal as well... just not sure what kind of salary the Flames would want/could take back. Looking up and down that roster there isn't much after Stamkos...Teddy Purcell maybe? 26 years old, RW, one year left at $2.3 mil....

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#25 Michael
June 28 2012, 05:59PM
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@Graham

We should be getting younger, not older, but I'll play along...

JBo to Tampa for Malone and a 2nd rounder

The two contracts basically wash (JBo 2 yrs at $6.67) and Malone (3 yrs at $4.5). We get a second rounder in 2013 (recovering the pick traded to Montreal) for adding the older player.

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#26 RexLibris
June 28 2012, 06:01PM
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@Kent Wilson

http://shop.canada.nhl.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=3176435

;-)

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#27 RexLibris
June 28 2012, 06:10PM
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Semin would certainly fit the mold of Feaster pruchasing offensive roster upgrades over the summer. Would Flames fans prefer he or Jagr?

As for Lecavalier for Bouwmeester, while that trade would certainly make some headlines and there is a connection to Feaster already there (both of which would put it squarely in the realm of possibility with that GM), Lecavalier would have to waive his NTC to go to Calgary.

I don't know if he would do that. Playing with some phenomenal offensive stars in Tampa Bay and relative celebrity obscurity might be his preference right now.

That being said, anything can happen, and if it did, well then look at the positive side: no Flames fan would be short of something to talk or blog about over the summer.

Based on Feaster's deals to-date, imagining what a deal like that would look like: Bouwmeester, Stajan, a 2013 6th round pick, and a conditional 2014 2nd round pick (if the team makes it to the second round of the playoffs in 2013 or 2014) to Tampa Bay for Vincent Lecavalier, a 2013 2nd round pick and a prospect like Evan Oberg.

A line of Iginla, Baertschi, and Lecavalier would probably be Feaster's selling point.

For the record, I would not advocate this move from a Flames perspective.

From an Oilers' fan perspective, well....

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#28 Artax
June 28 2012, 06:15PM
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NO way I'd trade for Vinny. Not even to get rid of Stajan's contract. If we need more right wingers, re-sign Stemps or bring up Nemisz/Kolanos or trade for a second line guy.

I'm of the feeling that most people consider Semin to be similar to a player like Bourque, Kovalev, one night he shows up, 2-3 nights he may not show up at all. But I haven't seen enough of him play to really judge anything about him.

If I had it my way I'd ship out Tanguay/Iggy & Kipper and start fresh. Make it Glencross/Cervenka/Cammy as our new first line. I mean Tanguay/Iggy and any other centre hasn't gotten it done for the past 3 years so what do you have to gain by keeping that 1st line together.

Then Baertschi/Backlund/(semin/stemps ???) can be our second unit.

It'll be interesting to see how Horak/Reinhart battle it out with Stajan/Jones for those other two centre spots. I just hope they don't resign Moss/Sarich/Hannan even if I like them as people.

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#29 Baalzamon
June 28 2012, 07:24PM
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@Graham

"I wouldn't mind finding a way to get Keith Aulie back in the fold"

I would. Aulie's terrible. If he isn't the worst skater in NHL history, he comes close. He's never been particularly smart either. He's also tremendously slow. I can walk faster than he can skate.

Aulie is a completely equivalent player to Chris Breen. Except that he knows how to hit. But Breen is a substantially better skater (which means he's merely very slow).

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#30 rude
June 28 2012, 07:35PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I might have to cheer for someone else if this clubs trade for Lecavalier.

I really can't picture you cheering Kent. What makes KW cheer when it comes to the flames?

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#32 Canucks Suck
June 28 2012, 08:54PM
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RexLibris wrote:

@Kent Wilson

http://shop.canada.nhl.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=3176435

;-)

nobody is going to pay that much for kindling for your fireplace

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#33 bookofloob
June 28 2012, 09:53PM
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sign him. just do it. christ. When was the last time the flames have had a player with this much skill?

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#34 Baalzamon
June 28 2012, 09:58PM
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@bookofloob

Kent Wilson. I mean Nilsson. I always mix those two up.

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#35 maimster
June 28 2012, 10:09PM
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Holy hell, let's please stop talking about them trading Jay-Bo. Why do people hate him so much? And Vinny coming back? I know all just speculation and rumors, but that'd almost be enough to lose me, and I'm the most positive guy out there. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

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#36 maimster
June 28 2012, 10:12PM
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Sorry, had to get that off my chest! As for Semin, I'd be in favor depending upon term and cost. He has his issues, but his bad rep is related to a) his being Russian; b) the Caps underachieving in the playoffs; c) Ovechkin's decline; d) Dale Hunter. Watching him play, I think he is a very good player, even if he has some Huselius in him (who was also a good player, by the way).

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#37 RexLibris
June 28 2012, 11:37PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Kent Wilson. I mean Nilsson. I always mix those two up.

Teacher's pet.

lol

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#38 RexLibris
June 28 2012, 11:47PM
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As a side note on Lecavalier, he plays center. Isn't that the position that the Flames have been trying to fill since the Diefenbaker days?

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#39 everton fc
June 29 2012, 12:03AM
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If they couldd sign Semin, and keep JBo. I think we're done.

Semin would certainly give the Flames an offencive threat outside Iginla the likes they haven't had in some time. IF he can duplicate past performance, which he hasn't in the past two years...

Still, he's only 28 years old. Why not take a toss?

As for Lecavlier, if Feaster does this to us... I'll be sick.

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#40 Franko J
June 29 2012, 12:10AM
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Semin- PASS. Lecavalier - PASS

Whether by trade or by free agency how do these two players help Calgary get any closer to becoming a playoff team? Waste of money and waste of contracts.

Call me frugal, but I think the Flames would be wise to either save their money for next years free agent crop or spend it on their own RFA's.

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#41 CitizenFlame
June 29 2012, 12:53AM
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Weren't Semin's last two contracts one year deals? He's probably willing to do so again, especially since he had a down year and isn't going to command the same $ as before. Even a two year deal isn't so bad. He could help Cervenka get accustomed to NA. Probably not the influence you want to help mould younger players. Age is good, productivity is good if not erratic. I could see Feaster/Weisbrod making this type of move, as they seem to be identifying players a little bit further down the grid (Jankowski, Wideman) and aren't afraid to be bold in doing so. Stock the cupboards, mobilize the back end, and add skill to the team. Wasn't that Feasters MO?

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#42 Jordy
June 29 2012, 01:52AM
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You're all forgetting the reason that Ovi and Semin had less productive years. They were playing under a defence first system with Dale Hunter. I would like to see Semin in a Flames uniform with a one year "try-out". I also can't stand Bouwmeester (he plays like a little girl, which is why he doesn't get hurt, and has terrible number, absolutely terrible) BUT I think if we're going to trade him, we need to pick up another decent top-four D-man and get younger through the trade, not older). I'm currently fine with the on-the-fly rebuild the Flames are doing as I'm reallllly impressed with their picks last year and this year. Many hidden gems IMO.

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#43 schevvy
June 29 2012, 08:57AM
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We signed Sarich?!?!? To a 2 year deal??? Good grief, this better be for dirt cheap.

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#44 Baalzamon
June 29 2012, 09:10AM
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schevvy wrote:

We signed Sarich?!?!? To a 2 year deal??? Good grief, this better be for dirt cheap.

2 mil per. This makes no sense. At all.

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#45 Parallex
June 29 2012, 09:15AM
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Oh FFS... Just heard they just resigned Sarich. For 2 years at 2M per FFS!

Really Feaster? Really? Did his halfway decent 2nd half last year make you forget the previous 1.5-2.0 years of mediocreness? Really? REALLY?

Bah.

I find this acceptable only in the event that they find a taker for Babchuk with no poison pill attached.

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#46 Q
June 29 2012, 09:22AM
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Calm down already! This is a good contract and babchunk! Will be gone! Cory is a leader and deserves it!

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#47 woods
June 29 2012, 11:15AM
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might as well go for Semin. this team is going to be pushing for a playoff spot again for the next few years. but just dont overpay for the guy. would rather see Doan come here though.

i would say move JBO if they can get a decent return. Connolly and Purcell would be nice, but cant see it happening.

the guy that suggested Malone/pick makes sense. but for that, id almost keep JBO.

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#48 internuncial
July 01 2012, 10:02AM
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I laughed like hell at Semin beating the drums too, but I don't think he gets enough credit for getting the drop on Marc Staal and even having the chance to wail on him. I couldn't do that, ditto for a good portion the current Flames line up, which doesn't seem to be held against them.

And pardon me if this is a silly question, but other than the contract, what's the matter with Vinny?

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