May 14, 2012, 5:57 PM EDT
After seven season together, Alex Semin and the Washington Capitals will part ways.
That’s the word from ESPN’s Craig Custance in speaking with Semin’s agent, Mark Gandler, who says the 28-year-old Russian won’t re-up with the Caps and will become a UFA on July 1.
“It was good while it lasted,” Gandler said. “With the lack of playoff success, with the direction they are going. They decided to change directions. That’s within their rights. Alex doesn’t fit into that system, obviously.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to him. He plays, he did the best he could under the circumstances and he earned his right to be a free agent.”
Some quick thoughts:
— Gandler said this wasn’t about the coaching staff, but rather how the organization viewed Semin.
“They told us Alex is not going to play short-handed, he’s not going to play in the last minute,” Gandler explained. “He’s going to get the same icetime as everybody else…Alex is not ready to be a role player.”
Makes you wonder what the Caps were doing with Semin. (Like, why keep signing him to big-money, one-year deals?) He’s one of 16 players to score 40-plus goals over the last three years. Headcase or no, the guy has elite-level scoring ability.
— I don’t know why Semin wants to kill penalties. Maybe it’s to make amends for all the times he’s put his team shorthanded.
— As mentioned yesterday, the KHL has announced “returning Russian players” won’t count against the upcoming salary cap. Technically speaking, Semin’s never played in the KHL — when he was last overseas, it was still the Russian Superleague — but his old team, Moscow Oblast, has a few ex-NHLers: Alex Kovalev, Nikolai Zherdev and Ivan Vishnevskiy.
— An offensively challenged NHL team with cap space could make a play for Semin. Colorado finished 25th in goals per game last year and has over $14 million available…it’s also home to ex-Capitals goalie (and fellow Russian) Semyon Varlamov.
— Florida’s another team (2.40 goals per game, 27th) that could use some offense, and we all know how aggressive GM Dale Tallon has been in free agency.
— Carolina’s been looking for a top-line winger to play with Eric Staal, and has been very vocal about loosening the purse strings this summer.
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