When the Carolina Hurricanes gave Alexander Semin a five-year contract worth $7 million per year in 2013, anyone who’s seen Semin’s antics before knew it would end poorly. Semin had a reputation for dogging it with the Washington Capitals, and it goes without saying the tiger didn’t change his stripes in Carolina. Right now Semin has a paltry eight points in 26 games with the Canes and has seen himself a healthy scratch multiple times on a team that is beyond atrocious. It may suit Semin and the Hurricanes best if he follows the lead of his countryman Ilya Kovalchuk and walks out of his contract to play in Russia’s KHL.
Nearly two years after Kovalchuk walked out on the New Jersey Devils, it looks it was a blessing in disguise as the team has commenced a rebuild and gotten out from under his erroneous contract. If Semin would follow suit Carolina could more easily set itself for a brighter future, as his inconsistencies and at times less than stellar attitude would be history — and so would the remaining three years and $21 million on his deal.
I’m not sure what’s more frustrating in this situation, Semin’s lack of productivity — for someone with a wrist shot that can only be described as beautiful he has one goal in 26 games — or the Hurricanes’ incompetence. Carolina loves playing the “small market” card when it comes to paying players, but the Canes were willing to give Semin a foolish contract despite knowing full well the flaws in his game on and off the ice.
The bad news for Carolina is the Russian Ruble is falling mightily and the KHL is hemorrhaging money, meaning the situation has drastically changed since Kovalchuk bolted in 2013. Semin would be making a mistake that would rival only Carolina’s choice to sign him to walk out on a guaranteed $21 million to play for a league and in a country that is on the verge of economic collapse. Right now it looks like the Canes and Semin are stuck together for better or for worse, and I can’t see it changing from the latter any time soon.