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Will the Capitals miss Alex Semin?

Jul 31, 2012, 8:45 PM EDT

Alexander Semin AP

Last week, the Carolina Hurricanes ended one of the summer’s most interesting free agent scenarios by inking Washington sniper Alex Semin to a one-year, $7 million deal.

That officially ended Semin’s stay in the American capital, a tenure that stretched over 500 regular season and playoff games, in which Semin scored over 200 goals.

For some, the 28-year-old simply wore out his welcome with the Caps. Every article about Semin seemingly included the words “enigma” or “mercurial” and most editorials asked what Semin’s deal was — problem child, or simply misunderstood?

But now, an even bigger question is at hand.

How will the Caps get on without him?

For all of the narratives surrounding Semin, statistical evidence claims he’s far more valuable than he’s been credited for. Carolina assistant GM Jason Karmanos crunched numbers on Semin’s situational play, which GM Jim Rutherford explained to ESPN’s Craig Custance:

“What the people out there who are not fans of Alex are saying are not confirmed by the analytics,” Rutherford said. “Actually, it’s absolutely the opposite.”

The area that stood out the most?

“High-pressure situations,” Rutherford said. “That’s the biggest one for a player like this. When the game is on the line, certain times in the game, who he ends up playing against — all those numbers are very high for him.”

There’s also this, from The Sporting News’ Jesse Spector:

Semin has demonstrably been a possession-driving winger over the course of his career, especially this past season, which was supposedly his worst in the NHL. Starting 51.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, Semin had a relative Corsi‚ a statistic measuring the Capitals’ attempts on goal with him on the ice at even strength, compared to his teammates—of plus-11 per 60 minutes.

In 14 playoff games, when he was supposedly at his most invisible and lazy and whatever other adjectives could be applied out of nothing more than xenophobia, Semin’s relative Corsi was plus-16.2, even though he started only 46.2 percent of his shifts in an offensive position.

“No secret that most teams use analytics these days in looking at acquisitions,” Carolina spokesman Mike Sundheim said in an unsolicited tweet. “The Canes are among them.”

Say what you will about Semin’s personality, but the facts remain — he’s finished second to Alex Ovechkin in goals in each of the last six seasons and, at the time of writing, it remains unclear who’ll play Goose to Ovi’s Maverick come next season.

Brooks Laich‘s career high in goals is 25, Nicklas Backstrom‘s is 33 and Jason Chimera posted a career-high 20 last year, so there are options.

But are any ready to step up and be the second triggerman for the Caps? Would any have done as good as job as Semin, especially with Adam Oates now at the helm?

Or, perhaps more importantly — do the Caps even need someone to step up and be that guy?

Scoring by committee is always an option and hey, scoring by committee rarely has personality flaws.


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  1. rockthered1286 - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Nowhere in this article does it mention Semin’s knack for putting his team down a man in critical points in the game, which was a major reason he wore out his welcome in DC.

    Also didn’t his agent say he never got the puck in crucial situations which completely negates these comments.

  2. Brian - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Will the Caps miss Semin? Short answer: yes with an if. Long answer: no with a but.

  3. dyrdom77 - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I guess we’ll see!!!

  4. dcdiehard82 - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    I’m sure we will be fine

  5. ravenscaps48 - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    I hate this guy with everything I have

    • ravenscaps48 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      This comment is not about Alex Semin. This was directed at one of Kris Letang’s or Evgeni Malkin’s boy whores

  6. ludacrish05 - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Let’s talk about Holtby, who cares about semin

    • chazxcore - Jul 31, 2012 at 11:19 PM

      The Caps hope it wasn’t a fluke.

      • ravenscaps48 - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Yeah. Because him winning 10 out of his 14 games the year before was a fluke too

  7. eyeh8goodell - Jul 31, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    The “analytics” come out just the opposite huh? I guess that’s why you only offered him a 1 year deal when it was widely known he wanted long term. I guess none of these other teams really did thier homework since they wouldn’ go long term either. Just admit you’re rolling the dice.

  8. bcjim - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Bad decision. Wolski better step up big.

  9. dat1ravens1fan - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    mike ribeiro will will in fine and make guys around him better…also johanssen could have a big year in their top 6

  10. theenutty - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I bet regardless of how they parted, the Caps certainly didnt want to see him in carolina. With Staal and now Semin added, the canes have a ton of weaponry on offense. Washington no longer can be considered the top dog in the southeast, in my opinion.

  11. babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    Semin was always the scapegoat in DC. Makes me wonder who will take over that position. Someone wrote about his untimely penalties, may be true, but what about Chimera’s constant untimely retaliation penalties, nobody ever talks about that. Who is going to make up for those potential 40 goals? Backstrom? Great player, but one cheap shot to the head and he’s out agian for the season. Green? His body is just hanging on by a thread. He never should have gotten a new multi-year deal until he has proven he can play for a longer period of time before going down to injury. Brouer? Yeah, want to discuss all those empty netters he just couldn’t finish off. Ward? Don’t get me started. The guy should be benched. Laich? I admit the guy gives his all, he just doesn’t have much “all”. The Caps are going to regret letting Semin get away. Players with the potential to score 40 goals are few and far between. Except for Ovi and Backstrom, the Caps are lucky if they have a guy that can make it to 20.

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