It might take fans a while to get used to seeing Alexander Semin in a Carolina Hurricanes uniform. Now that training camps are about to open, he’s ready to start anew in Raleigh.
Chip Alexander from the News & Observer spoke with Semin (through his interpreter) at his first day at camp with his new team.
“Everything so far is good,” Semin said through his agent, Todd Diamond, who served as an interpreter. “Everything is new — the team, the area, the teammates. But so far everything is positive and I have very positive thoughts coming into the season.”
Positive thoughts are what the Hurricanes are hoping for this season with Semin in the lineup. That and a healthy pile-up of goals as well. Carolina adding Jordan Staal as well as Semin had them thinking about making a run into the playoffs before the season started.
With Tuomo Ruutu on the shelf until at least May thanks to hip surgery, getting the offense from Semin that we’ve seen in the past becomes all the more important.
With Alexander Semin signing with the Carolina Hurricanes on a one-year, $7 million deal it presents another missed free agent opportunity for the Detroit Red Wings. According to Semin’s agent, however, it’s an opportunity Detroit wasn’t exactly chasing.
Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reports the Wings never seriously pursued the free agent Russian.
Semin’s agent, Todd Diamond, told M-Live.com that he had only one conversation with the Detroit Red Wings.
“It never got serious with them,” Diamond said.
It seems a bit curious that Detroit would keep their distance from Semin considering Pavel Datsyuk’s familiarity with him, even playing on a line together during the World Championships, and the possibility he could help Semin feel more comfortable having a fellow Russian to play with there.
Detroit has now missed out on landing Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Shea Weber, and now Semin in an offseason that sees the Wings with oodles of salary cap space to splurge on. While Suter and Parise worked out their own deal with the Wild and Weber was a RFA, landing Semin would’ve at least required a big money one-year offer.
You have to wonder if perhaps GM Ken Holland has a trick up his sleeve to go after Bobby Ryan or if perhaps he’s waiting out a possible labor storm.
As much as the hockey world has justifiably heaped praise upon Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman for a great first year of work, one could say that his “real” work begins this off-season. He faces the task of re-signing (or deciding not to re-sign) some free agents who were integral parts of the team’s cup run, from restricted free agents such as young star Steven Stamkos to unrestricted players including Dwayne Roloson and Eric Brewer.
While those aforementioned free agents were expected to be tough decisions for Yzerman, there were also two pending free agents who exploded onto the scene in the 2011 playoffs: Sean Bergenheim and Teddy Purcell.
Purcell quietly had a better overall playoff run in my opinion (Purcell had 17 points versus Bergenheim’s 11), but Bergenheim could be a tougher guy to keep because he’s primed to be an unrestricted free agent while Purcell will be restricted. It’s obvious that Bergenheim deserves a nice raise from the $700K he made in 2010-11, but figuring out a proper price might be difficult.
That’s a situation that his agent Todd Diamond* acknowledged to Tampa Bay beat writer Damian Cristodero, although it’s said that there could be some posturing going on.
Diamond on Friday said the sides have “right now agreed to disagree” on a new contract.
Asked if he believed a deal could get done before July 1, when Bergenheim hits the open market, Diamond said, “It’s not going to be easy, but stranger things can happen.”
He only scored a career-high 29 points during the 2010-11 regular season, so it’s not as if he was clearly building toward a hot postseason. Did Bergenheim really have a breakthrough in the playoffs or did he simply engineer an out of left field run that won’t be duplicated? We won’t begin to find out until after he signs his next contract, which could make things very interesting. Yzerman made all the right moves so far, but it will be intriguing to see how he handles this and many other questions this summer.
* – Talk about a name that’s too good to be true for an agent, eh?