Washington Capitals forward Alex Semin had plenty to prove coming into the new season. Much of it to former teammate Matt Bradley.
Bradley, now with Florida, ripped into the 27-year-old Russian over the summer, saying Semin is “one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn’t care.”
Bradley has since apologized for his comments, but let’s face it, he meant what he said. It’s not like he’s the only one who’s voiced that opinion. He just did it in public.
Semin’s slow start to 2011-12 isn’t helping his case. In 12 games, he has just two goals and five assists.
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, however, is sticking up for his much-maligned player.
“He’s working harder,” Boudreau said, as reported by CSNWashington.com. “He’s more committed to doing what he’s supposed to be doing. You don’t see the real big lapses where he’s staying out on the ice for long periods of time.”
Semin’s lack of production has flown somewhat under the radar in DC with other stories like the Caps’ seven-game winning streak to kick off the season and Alex Ovechkin blatantly swearing at his coach receiving most of the attention.
But it’s no secret that Semin is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. And with the Capitals no longer struggling to score like they did in 2010-11 when they were learning how to play defense, you have to wonder if they’ll really need a player of Semin’s ilk come playoff time. A trade isn’t likely to happen at this point in the year, but it’s a situation worth monitoring leading up to the trade deadline.
I suppose the answer to the question of whether the Caps should consider dealing Semin is…depends if anyone would want him. Also, how badly they’d want him. A $6.7-million cap hit isn’t the easiest thing to move, but it’s not impossible, particularly late in the season when most of the actual salary has been paid out. Detroit and Boston are among the teams that could make room if they had to, assuming they don’t do anything else. If Dallas has a new owner in place and the Stars are still in a playoff position by late February, maybe that’s a destination.
Semin’s talent is undeniable. He had 28 goals last season in 65 games. There would be a market for his services.