There’s some buzz circulating that the Washington Capitals may want to unload talented but disappointing sniper Alexander Semin, who’s set to make $6.7 million in the final year of his contract. Detroit, thanks to its $6-plus million in cap space, naturally looks like a possible landing spot.
HockeyBuzz.com’s Eklund wrote Monday that the “Wings are VERY in on Semin” — a point we should qualify a bit with the fact that Eklund doesn’t have a reputation for being overly accurate. That said, given Semin’s bulky contract, the options may be limited for the Capitals.
Semin’s put up some big numbers in the regular season during his career, including a 40-goal 2009-10. It’s been the postseason where he’s fallen apart, often looking overwhelmed and undermotivated on the NHL’s big stage.
But it’s his talent and scoring ability that could make him an attractive piece for Detroit, especially with just one year left on his deal. It wouldn’t take a lot for the Red Wings to ensure they have enough room for Semin, and if the Capitals are desperate enough to shed that contract — which they may be given that they’re pressing up against the cap right now — then Detroit could also dump some of its pesky contract money.
By that, we’re specifically talking about a guy like Jiri Hudler, who’s more than $4 million a year cheaper than Semin but still might give Washington some offensive pop in return. Combining Hudler with a prospect and a draft pick or two, and Detroit GM Ken Holland would figure to at least get the Caps’ attention.
Semin’s postseason meltdowns might be enough to convince Detroit to stay away. If the Red Wings make any more additions between now and the start of the season, they’ll want those moves to be as sure-footed as possible — Semin’s ability see-saws with his lackluster effort, so it’d be a high-risk, potential high-reward case.
It might be too high-risk, though, for a calculated organization like the Red Wings. Chasing after Jaromir Jagr and his lengthy NHL pedigree was one thing. Giving up a bunch of players or picks for a huge enigma like Semin would certainly be a shake-up for Detroit, but arguably too big of one.
Semin would take a lot of the scoring pressure off Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. He’d also look real nice on the Wings’ top power-play unit — a role Jagr would’ve filled as well.
More than ever before, though, it’s apparent that Detroit needs players that can match the work ethic and heart we’ve seen from San Jose the past two postseasons. Semin doesn’t fit that description. So while his offensive firepower would be nice and the numbers seem to work, the fit doesn’t seem ideal.