The Carolina Hurricanes made news last week when they signed forward Alex Semin to a contract extension that will keep him with the club for another five years and pay him $35 million.
As was probably expected, it was a deal that many immediately jumped on and criticized. After all, there’s probably a reason that teams avoided Semin like the plague when he was a free agent last summer, right? And there’s a reason that the Canes only wanted him on a one-year contract, right?
Not entirely. While paying him $7 million may be questionable, this is a deal that makes sense for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Semin has built up a reputation for being a downer in the locker room and lacking the appropriate work ethic to transform him into the star that his skill level could have made him into. That reputation seems to have disappeared, at least to those who follow the organization closely.
He’s been terrific for them this season. He’s earned nothing but praise and positive reviews from his teammates. He’s not only playing solid offense, but he’s been capable as a defensive player this season as well.
Semin has 32 points already this season. That puts him in league with some of the league’s elite players. Even better, he’s been setting up teammates, rather than taking the shots himself. Of his 32 points, 23 are assists. Sure, the Hurricanes would probably like him to shoot the puck a bit more, but whether it’s shooting or playmaking, he’s doing a terrific job this season.
There’s no guarantee that Semin’s supposedly improved work ethic will carry over now that he has a long-term contract. But perhaps the change of scenery did him right. This is a deal where the benefits far outweigh the risk. This was the right move for Carolina, much more so than letting him hit the open market and trying to bring him back would have been.
This is a move that just makes the Hurricanes that much more dangerous moving forward. They’re going to be a force in the Eastern Conference in the very near future.