Canes keep Semin in Southeast; opportunity missed by Panthers or prudent management?

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals warms up before the game against the Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center on January 8 2011 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Literally yesterday's news: high-scoring but ultimately perplexing former Capitals winger Alexander Semin finagled a one-year tryout-style contract (his third in as many seasons) within the Southeast Division. He will continue wearing primary red though now of the Raleigh variety while garnering a pay raise in the neighborhood of $300,000. Moving expenses, obviously. Local Hurricanes coverage of the signing is well worth a peek at Canes Country.

So along with the recent bombshell acquisition of Jordan Staal, Carolina gets another coveted A-list forward as Semin packs his 17 goals and 19 assists in 40 career games vs Florida and heads a wee bit closer to Sunrise. Regardless of the lousy work-ethic accusations and apparent playoff vanishing acts, landing the six-year NHL veteran is a sly move by GM Jim Rutherford, divisionally speaking, as he's officially prevented the 28 year-old from upping with the Panthers, Lightning, or Jets.

That said, Semin scored a somewhat paltry 21 goals in 77 appearances during the 2011-12 campaign, which seems on the low end (and is in fact just that over his career) for a guy whose previous floor was 26 (in 66 games!). Even Florida's Kris Versteeg - who never found himself surrounded with Capitals-type talent up front last season - potted 23 goals in six fewer games. A year of utter frustration for Semin while adjusting from one coach's strategy to another? Undoubtedly. But if he returns to 40-goal form, that $7M will be in line with market value (cap hit comparables per CapGeek: Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, and Jason Spezza).

Is he the One That Got Away or will he become an inevitable burden on coach Kirk Muller?

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