NHL Rumors: Is Alexander Semin Really An Option for the Pittsburgh Penguins?

Over the past several weeks since NHL free agency began on July 1, there have been numerous NHL rumors about a few top-name players who the Pittsburgh Penguins could possibly be interested in. Even after acquiring offensive talents like Brandon Sutter and Tanner Glass, the team is still lacking a reliable top-six winger. 

Last week, talk of the Penguins being interested in Phoenix Coyotes captain, Shane Doan, began heating up; and although Doan may still be in play, this week the rumors are just beginning to stir regarding Washington Capitals winger, Alexander Semin.

More specifically, rumors revolving around Semin and a one-year deal with the Penguins have surfaced as of late.  It was once thought, earlier in the off-season, that Semin was most interested in heading back to his native Russia to play for the KHL; however, more recent reports have indicated an interest in remaining to play in the NHL.

But I believe Semin’s positive qualities do not outweigh the risk involved in the type of player he is not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.  When head coach Dan Bylsma was recently asked about Semin, his answer was more of a testament to the winger’s scoring talent rather than a clear indication of Pittsburgh’s interest in him to be part of the team by stating Semin’s goal-scoring ability makes him a dangerous player.

Semin is pretty much an inconsistent goal-scorer even though his overall stats dictate somewhat more of a consistency.  This past season was his worst tallying the lowest number of goals since his NHL career began (21); and although it wasn’t his lowest plus/minus of his career, he still recorded a meager +9.  His 2009-10 season, by far, has been his most successful to date with a total of 84 points marking the year (40 of which came in the form of goals) and a plus/minus of +36.

Unless Semin can somehow reclaim his 2009-10 season with more consistency, overall he is not the caliber of player in terms of both his character and his play that is typically associated with the Penguins organization.  He has a reputation for having a bad attitude, questionable work ethic, and inconsistent play.  But could removing him from the influence of Alexander Ovechkin and placing him with a more positive influence like fellow Russian-born player, Evgeni Malkin, play a role in this factor?  It’s very possible and one that makes acquiring Semin a little interesting.  Given the quality of talent and character that you can surround him with in Pittsburgh, would there be more motivation to elevate his game and return to the player he’s capable of being just as in his most successful season with the Capitals?

The length of the contract can also be a major factor between Semin being a good or a bad fit for Pittsburgh.  If it’s true that the deal the Penguins would / have offer(ed) Semin is limited to only one year then the consequences are short term and there wouldn’t be much of a risk involved.  This pick-up could easily pay off for the Penguins. 

On the surface, this may appear to be a highly unlikely choice for a new piece of the Penguins puzzle and one that many Penguins fans may not favor (especially considering how Semin bad-mouthed Sidney Crosby only a few short post-seasons ago).  However, seriously considering some of these factors may make it a bit more appealing especially if it’s only for one season.  And if nothing else, the possibilities do make this an interesting option that would be entertaining to watch play out during Pittsburgh’s upcoming season.

Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.

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    • http://hockeyrumors,com Jack

      Well everyone busting on Semin these days. Give him a chance and give a right line mates and WOOOOOOOOW see whats gonna happen!!!!

      • Stephanie Lewark

        THANKS for commenting, Jack! I don’t necessarily think I’m picking on Semin as much as I’m stating things I’ve read / heard about him (and as a Pens fan, it’s kind of instinctive to be “against” anything Capitals). And I think we both agree about giving him a chance, but I was laying out what would probably be best for the Penguins to do if they would seriousy consider him an option — which I also say may prove to be interesting given certain circumstances. Under the right situation with the contract and how much better he would be able to play with Pittsburgh talent, I think he may be able to prove himself (and prove alot of Penguins fans wrong).

        THANKS again for the comment — always appreciate it (and I enjoy having other fans’ opinions!)!!

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  • Bob

    To the Author: I agree with you that Alex Semin would be a good addition to the Pens. Like Jack said, put him on a good line and wow, unstoppable offense and pretty too. However, I am one of the people who believe that his bad reputation is unwarranted and unjustified. He is an awesome superstar with talent and skills rivaled by very few players in the league. IMO, there could have been many ways and reasons his bad rap started. I am sick and tired of people regurgitating what they have read or heard like you admitted with no proof to back it up. People listen to that crap and believe writers and analyists like yourself. What Marc Crawford and Pierre Mcguire said on T.V. about Semin was classless and unprofessional. Again, people tend to take what you so called experts say as being the truth. You say that you are not pickng on him but your article is full of overtones of exactly that. While I don’t know for sure, I think that much of his problems had to do with Ovechkin and the Capitals organization overall. Also, IMO he did not fit there. Perhaps he should have asked to be traded before. It seemed clear that he was unhappy there. His declining stats I think were a result of how he was used by the team not that he played poorly over the last couple of years or that he is inconsistent. Sorry to dump on you but please write things that you know not what you read or heard. We’ve read and hear the junk about Alex Semin enough already. How about something new? This only perpetuates false rumors and may impact a young man’s career. Alex Semin does not deserve that. I hope the Pens do sign him for what he is really worth then all the naysayers can watch him dazzle them and light up the light. If the Pens don’t sign him I hope another eastern team does. Perhaps the Devils. He would fit in there well. If he signs with Philly or the Rangers, the Pens will suffer and have to admit their failure to wrap him up when they could have. Anyway, I truly hope he is signed and doesn’t end up in Russia. It would be sad for the N.H.L. and it’s fans to lose a player with his incredible hockey abilities. Watching Semin play is a pleasure and his style of play is the reason I watch hockey. It’s just too bad that there’s not more players like him. So, if the Pens sign him and he plays with Crosby or Malkin get ready to be entertained and awed. If I have to eat my words, a little hot sauce please.

  • Bob

    Moderator: I submitted a rant a while back that you declined. You say – agree, disagree, different opinion. I had a different opinion than the author regarding Alex Semin’s bad reputation. There was no disrespect, foul language, etc.. I enjoy your site and feel that I deserve a reason as to why my initial rant was declined. I hope you take a moment of your time to explain that to me. I would surely appreciate it. You have my e-mail. Thank you. Bob..