In the NHL’s salary cap era, a good player with a bad contract is not a good player.It’s almost as if the article applied directly to Alex Semin. In fact, he is listed as one of the ‘negative value’ players, like Vincent Lecavalier or Mike Richards, that you’re either stuck with or have to buy out, since no other team would trade for him or even take him off your hands off waivers.
When he was allowed to walk by Capitals management eager to find the right coaching-star player-effort-talent mix, Alex Semin signed on with Carolina for 1 year at $7M, which most experts and all fans agreed was the way to go. A short-term contract would be an effective carrot, to ensure his focus didn’t waver too much, a flaw that affects Alex reportedly.
But when Jim Rutherford signed him for five more years at the same cap hit, we all winced, and knew it wouldn’t turn out well. It’s the same reaction we had to the Ryan Kesler contract the Anaheim Ducks just gave him, although not for lack of intensity and consistency, but rather because of his high-impact style and injury history which makes it doubtful he can ever play at the same level for its lengthy, uh, length.
Too long. No chance he can make that contract worthwhile. Some have already speculated that Bob Murray is planning on a lockout and accompanying amnesty buyouts near the end of the contract, or that he’s factored in that Las Vegas or Phoenix should be ready for a Chris Pronger LTIR salary-cap/floor-type trade by then.
Apparently Jim Rutherford had no such contingencies, to Peter Karmanos’ chagrin based on his recent tirade, and it was up to Ron Francis to clean up the mess
But now Alex Semin is playing for a pittance, a salary capmosquitobite rather than a caphit. He’ll be chastened, he’ll be motivated, he’ll maybe approach the level of play he did when he amassed 44 points in 44 games after Gary Bettman’s Third Lockout.
He now definitely has value, positive value, with this contract. He's an asset.