Alexander Semin signed a long term deal with the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday for 5 years worth $35M.
Immediately, some people thought that it was risky signing because of the reputation that Semin brought from Washington, and that long term security would affect his dedication to playing. “Semin was only playing hard because it is a contract year” is the common argument that springs up with the players of Semin’s reputation.
Well, I for one don’t buy it. Semin has been nothing short of remarkable this season and has combined with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty to be one of the most dominant lines in the NHL this season. He has 30 points in 30 games and is a +18 on a team that is fighting for the playoffs on two fronts – the division lead and the #3 seed as well as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Semin will be under scrutiny more than anyone else over the rest of the season, to see how he reacts to having the next years of his life mapped out.
By the way, Semin was playing for a contract in each of the last 4 seasons. In this case, I think it was the situation in Washington more than the player himself that created the reputation. Ask any Hurricanes fan and they will tell you that he has been nothing short of professional and has lifted Staal’s game as much as Staal has lifted his. His talent was never in doubt, but for some reason in Washington his desire was. Now that he is out of that situation he has thrived while the Caps (at least until very recently) stumbled.