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Agent says Semin, Capitals will part ways: “Alex doesn’t fit into that system, obviously”

May 14, 2012, 5:57 PM EDT

Alexander Semin Getty Images

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.

  1. loinstache - May 14, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I think there is a lot wrong with the Capitals system which makes players not hit their full potential. That said, Semin seems like an intrinsically flaky player who has some major discipline issues. I don’t know if it’s an issue of maturity or indifference, but his heart doesn’t seem to be at the level of his skill.

    • polegojim - May 14, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      The hard Q – What Caps system DOES make players hit their full potential?

      Run and Gun? Nope, no Cup.
      Defensive? Nope, no Cup.

      At some point, everyone in Washington needs to realize… it’s NOT the system.

      It’s either coaching or players who just don’t have the balls to finish. Period.

      • ravenscaps48 - May 14, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        Agree 1,000%

      • hockeyflow33 - May 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM

        It isn’t easy to win a Cup either. Along the way you need a lot of breaks to go your way. It seems foolish to just dismiss the organization because they have yet to win a Cup.

      • polegojim - May 15, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        @hockeyflow33… then what???

        Why do some team win Cups and others OBVIOUSLY more talented not?

        It can only be one of the two – Org or Players? Which is it?

    • jpelle82 - May 15, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      shouldve traded him before the deadline, gotten some value for him. now the caps and that genius Mcphee get nothing for a bunch of fruitless years and wasted money on this bum.

  2. brianforster - May 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    i will never defend semin on certain issues (poorly timed penalties, questionable effort) but despite his reputation he was always my favorite player. i will be very sad to see him go, but his agent makes great points.

    am i the only one who remembers when boudreau had semin on the PK? i thought he was a very good penalty killer.

    that being said, if you are paying a guy 7 million a year, he needs to be on the ice.

    • stakex - May 14, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      I certainly would never defend Semin (in fact I trashed him after the Caps lost just the other day), but I do understand his reasons for leaving the Caps. Hes not a defense minded player, and he (much like Ovechkin) is wasted in the system they obviously want to play.

  3. eigglesnosuperbowls - May 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    He is one of the most skilled players I have ever seen lace up a pair !

  4. travishenryskid - May 14, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    I know I won’t be in the majority, but I’d love to see him in Buffalo. The caps are the team I’ve watched most other than the Sabres, and a lot of his effort issues are overstated IMO. No different than some of the top Sabre forwards, but more skill than all/most (debatable with Vanek/Ennis).

  5. sergeikremlin - May 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I think a fresh start is just what Semin needs. He is a superstar who has been overshadowed by OV and used as a whipping boy in the media. He can be a gamebreaker for a club, but in the negative sense as well. I for one hope he gets his fresh start somewhere else in the NHL. I think in Detroit, under Babcock and along Datsyuk and Zetterberg, playing that puck control system, he could really flourish and flirt with 40-50 again.

    • bensawesomeness - May 14, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      As a Wings fan – honestly, i really dont want him for what he’s going to ask

  6. capsfan19 - May 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Ugh the thought of him on another team scares me. Even with the accusations of him not trying.
    Watch he tuns it on at his new team…. Please let it not be carolina or florida.

    • stakex - May 14, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      If I had to bet big money, I would say hes going to Russia. After his so-so year, and a real flame out in the playoffs (only 1 assist in the last round and a +/- -4) there is no way hes going to get more then $4-5 million next year in the NHL. Hes just far too much of a question mark.

      In the KHL though? Hes almost certain to be offered truck loads of money to come to Russia… especially since any contract he signs with a KHL team probably wouldn’t count against that teams cap hit. In other words a team with deep pockets that wants to add a very skilled player (would probably be the best player in the KHL) might well offer him $10 or even $15 million a season. Considering he never really seemed to care about playing in the NHL too much anyway, I would actually be shocked to see him turn something like that down.

  7. jason9696 - May 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    He has one of the best wrist shots that I have ever seen.

  8. GenoPringles - May 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Probably gonna end up in orange, cause we all know how much filthy loves semin. SCA 13

    • flyerfan48 - May 15, 2012 at 8:35 AM

      As Flyers fan I hope he does end up here in replace of Jagr(if he doesnt sign with the NHL).
      And the Flyers aren’t filthy, i dont know where so many people are getting that from..

  9. dawglb - May 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    As a Flyers fan, I hate to see Semin leave. He has been an uninspired waste over the last 2 years. Hate to see the roster spot taken with a real player.

  10. caps247 - May 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    I wish him the best, but I hope he doesn’t go anywhere else in the SouthEast Division. I’d hate to play against him 6 times a year, because waves of nostalgia would hit me hard.

  11. bcjim - May 14, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Bummer. I hoped they would win one with Semin, sorry to see him go. I dont know why you wouldnt at least low ball him 4 x 5.5M or so…?

    Hope it doesnt come back to haunt us.

    • stakex - May 14, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      Semin is the one walking. He clearly does not want to stay in Washington with the system they are playing.

      …and 4 x $5.5 million wouldn’t be a “low ball” for Semin. Id actually call that a pretty risky offer for a guy like Semin, especially after he vanished in the playoffs………. again.

      • wheresdapuck - May 15, 2012 at 7:40 AM

        My concern is he will end up in a Pens sweater…Semin could add skill to the muscle they have.

      • bcjim - May 16, 2012 at 7:34 AM

        I interpreted the comments the other way, but you may be right.

        Either way, you should check what goal scorers get paid these days. The following all make above 6M per:

        Stall, Nash, Vinny, Gaborik (7.5?!?), Heatley, Vanek, Spezza, Marleau, Briere, Kane, Elias, Cammileri….plus the obvious superstars.

        Semin is as good or better than most of those guys.

  12. charlutes - May 14, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    What is very vocal? Just vocal.

  13. cspsrbums - May 14, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Semin is the 2nd best player on the Caps roster behind Backstrom he was the scape goat Caps will be making a huge mistake for not trying to get him back till and if Kuz comes over. I don’t think you see Semin in another NHL sweater anytime soon hell be back in the KHL the league is getting serious with the NHL suspensions and horrible Officiating. Also the potential lockout wont help either the decline of the NHL

    • hockeyflow33 - May 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      So Ovie is 3rd?

  14. cspsrbums - May 14, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    You are witnessing the collapse of the Washington Capitals. I guess we still have Wideman and Shultz

    • wheresdapuck - May 15, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      Both Wideman and Shultz sucked in the playoffs. How many pucks did these two miss to keep the forecheck alive? How fast do they skate? Dump’m

      As a matter of fact, consider dumping all the defensive players except the young ones.

  15. DTF31 - May 14, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Such a waste. On a purely skill level he is probably right at the top of the league. He just doesn’t have the engine to play that way.

  16. scottfmullin - May 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Don’t think Florida will go after Semin; Tallon’s always after character guys, and Panthers will get some offensive influx from some players coming up from juniors.

  17. deeboy - May 15, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    “If you can’t beat em, join em.” I have a feeling Jim Rutherford will be pitching that to Semin’s agent this offseason and if he wants to stay in the NHL could end up in a Hurricanes sweater. He’s killed the Canes in the past, moreso than anyone else on the Caps roster. The Canes are going to get a 1st line winger from somewhere, and I think Parise will be out of their reach because of the number of teams involved, driving the price up to ridiculous levels. Semin is the next best UFA forward on the market, even with the supposed baggage.

    Then again if one of the KHL teams offers up 8+M USD per season, he will “defect”.

  18. dowhatifeellike - May 15, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Good riddance. His dumb forechecking penalties are momentum-killers. He has great hands and a wicked wrist shot but he doesn’t skate anymore and he doesn’t pass as well as a forward should.

  19. cspsrbums - May 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Yes Ovi was third best on the caps the comment about Shultz and Wideman was with Sarcasm.

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