Montreal takes a chance on Semin with one-year deal


When a 31-year-old 40-goal scorer hits the free agent market, GMs typically don’t hesitate to open the purse strings and throw money his way. When that player only scored six goals last season in 57 games, GMs hesitate to take a chance on him.

Alexander Semin is perhaps one of the most enigmatic goal scorers in the NHL, but has been criticized for his lack of effort at times and has been suspected as a cancer in the locker room. Evidently those notions didn’t concern the Montreal Canadiens, who signed Semin to a one-year, $1.1 million dollar contract yesterday.

“We are very pleased to have reached a short term agreement with Alexander Semin. Alex is a pure goal scorer with a good shot. We believe his addition to our group of forwards will strengthen our offensive production and our powerplay. A veteran winger with size, Semin has reached the 20-goal plateau seven times since the beginning of his NHL career 12 years ago. His signing represents a great opportunity for the organization and for Alex’s career,” said Habs general manager Marc Bergevin.

The signing is a prime example of a “low risk/high reward” opportunity for the Canadiens, who finished 20th in the NHL last season in goals scored per game with an average of 2.61. The team only had four players last season who scored 20 or more goals, something Semin has done seven times in his career. And, at $1.1 million, his salary isn’t devastating to the Canadiens, who will ice a very similar team to the one they did last year.

“I want to try because last year was a bad season for me,” Semin said on Friday. “I [didn’t] score [many] points, I [didn’t] play well. I’m [trying to] going back to how I can play. I think team [can] help me and I can help for the team too.”

Semin’s agent, Mark Gandler, believes his client has room to improve with a new team and a new head coach.

“[Semin’s] career can only go up. He is still young. His buyout was under unique circumstances and the (Hurricanes) coach did not understand Sasha’s game,” he said. He also stated that his client had been mulling offers from several NHL teams.

The Canadiens boasted the best defense in the NHL last season, averaging just 2.24 goals against per game—a league best. However, the team was ousted in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a six-game series.

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