Semin handed chance to shine for Canadiens

There weren’t many teams in the NHL falling over themselves to sign Alexander Semin on the back of a disappointing few years, and the Montreal Canadiens were able to pick up the Russian veteran on a one-year deal worth $1.1 million. This time next year, the Canadiens will be looking back at either an amazing piece of business or a relatively inexpensive mistake, but Semin does arrive in Montreal with an impressive C.V. in the league. Semin was available for a budget price after the Carolina Hurricanes bought him out of the final three years of his $7 million-a-year contract with the franchise, ending a three-year spell with the team that has failed to live up to the hype that surrounded his move from Washington in 2012.


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The prospect of only being on a short-term deal won’t be an unfamiliar feeling for Semin. After signing his entry-level contract with the Capitals in 2002, the Russian was never handed a deal longer than two seasons, making $6 million and $6.7 million in his final two seasons in Washington before the franchise opted against re-signing him in 2012. Having gone beyond the 50-point mark in all but two of his seven seasons with the Capitals, including a 40-goal campaign in 2009/10, Carolina fans could have been forgiven for feeling excited about what Semin could achieve.
After finishing with a point-a-game record during the lockout-shortened season, the Hurricanes slapped a five-year extension in front of the experienced right wing. While he managed to score 22 goals in the 2013/14 season, his form completely deserted him last season, recording just six goals and 13 assists. Carolina general manager Ron Francis made the decision to bite the bullet and the $14 million hit to buy Semin out of the rest of his contract. Montreal didn’t have to battle too hard to sign the free agent, snagging the veteran on a one-year deal that appears to work well for both parties.

While gambling fans might want to get as much expert opinion on bonus slots or games before betting, the Canadiens are taking a relatively small risk with this deal. He might not have produced his best form for a few years, but Semin has shown during his NHL career that plenty of Montreal fans will feel as though the forward could surprise a few people this season. For the former 13th overall pick in the 2002 Draft, being handed another chance to prove he belongs in the NHL will be a huge boost considering there had been some who felt Semin’s release from Carolina would spell the end of his time in the league.

At 31, Semin still has time on his side despite all the miles he has clocked up during his ten seasons in the league. That could all change if he fails to shine for the Canadiens, and the powerful winger will be well aware that he is playing for his NHL future next season. If he can reproduce some of the form from his glory days, Montreal may well have pulled off one of the deals of the summer.