Time with Caps ends after seven up-and-down seasons
Right wing Alexander Semin, the longest-tenured Capitals player, signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Semin, 28, was a 2002 first-round draft pick by Washington. In seven NHL seasons, he had 197 goals and 211 assists (408 points). But the relationship between the two sides had apparently run its course. Semin's agent, Mark Gandler, has long expressed his client's frustration at his recent role in Washington, and the team didn't make a concerted effort to keep him, either.
"I don't think that anything would change because the personnel hasn't changed," Gandler said about the Caps under new coach Adam Oates. "We could not take a chance and put him in a situation where [Semin] could not succeed. I thought that he needed a fresh start regardless of who the coach is."
Semin averaged 16 minutes, 47 seconds of ice time in 2011-12 -- the lowest since his rookie year (12:37). Semin has shown an aptitude for playing on the penalty kill in years past, but under Dale Hunter and Bruce Boudreau this past season, he was used just 1:09 total when down a man. However, he also scored just 21 goals. That's his lowest total since his rookie year in 2003-04. Semin peaked at 84 points in 2009-10 but posted 54 each of the last two seasons. He was paid $6.7 million last year.
"We have done a lot of research about Alexander, and discussions about his fit with our team have included people at many different levels of our organization, including players, coaches and staff," Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. "What's been clear throughout this process was his commitment to wanting to play in the NHL and compete against the world's best players."
Gandler admitted that the market for a long-term NHL contract never materialized for his client. Semin did not visit Carolina in person or meet with the coaching staff, but Rutherford did provide a blueprint for how he would be used.
"The better [Semin] plays, the more time he deserves. That's not an issue," Gandler said. "He just needs to know that, that role is available to him if he deserves it. Hopefully he will respond."