On July 26, 2012, the Carolina Hurricanes took a gamble on Alex Semin, a supremely talented but frequently frustrating free-agent winger jettisoned by the Washington Capitals.
Signing a 1-year, $7-million deal, Semin thought Carolina was “a great fit.” GM Jim Rutherford said: “We hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well.”
The fit has been better than anyone could have hoped: He leads the Hurricanes in assists (22), and ranks second in points (30) and plus/minus rating (+18) in 30 games this season, helping solidify the Hurricanes’ top line with Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal.
The fit was so good that Rutherford decided to extend Semin’s stay in Raleigh another five seasons.
As Harrison Mooney had tonight, Semin and the Canes agreed on a 5-year, $35-million contract extension.
That’s a lot of faith placed in Semin, who has regained his point-per-game pace after two middling seasons with the Caps.
It’s a fascinating signing for the Canes, who now have two players in the top 20 cap hits in the NHL next season in Semin and Staal ($8,250,000), along with Jordan Staal ($6 million) and Jeff Skinner ($5.725 million) also pulling down big dollars in long-term deals. The Hurricanes will be a top 5 payroll in 2013-14, with the cap dropping.
Clearly, Rutherford feels Kirk Muller and his players have cracked the code on Semin, whose star fell in Washington. The term is more stunning than the money, but both are significant.
Give Rutherford and ownership credit: They took a chance on Semin, and he delivered. Now they’ve upped the ante, and it’s on Semin to prove them shrewd gamblers.