Alexander Semin was signed to a 5 year $35 million contract earlier this week by the Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, I know, he couldn’t garner the interest of any NHL team in the off season to give him a multi-year deal. Now after two months of play, he has apparently proved himself to the Hurricanes organization and Jim Rutherford.
He’s played well in Carolina so far. He seems to be fitting in, buying into head coach Kirk Muller’s system and genuinely being engaged in helping the team win. That’s more than you could say for him just a year ago in Washington.
Streaky. That is the best way to describe Alexander Semin. Streaky is a very nice way of putting it. He was lacklustre after showing the ability to score more than 30 goals a season. Consistency is something you wouldn’t associate with Semin.
When Jim Rutherford and the Hurricanes offered a one year deal to Semin, it was all he had in terms of interest from the NHL. A one year deal was the only deal any team was going to give Semin. He needed to prove he could be that consistent 30 goal scorer before he got paid for it. In other words, he needed to earn it. Funny, isn’t it Semin?
I wouldn’t say he’s earned the money he’s been given. After playing like a team player for two months, he will be earning $7 million for the next five years. Does it fit? Does he deserve the extension and all the benjamin’s from such a short trial? Let’s look at the guys around him are making strictly in terms of production this season.
Goals: Semin has 8 goals this season, which ranks 88th in the NHL. Other NHL players with 8 goals include Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild, and 18 other players that I’m not going to list, because that would be ridiculous. All four players are separated by only a few total points individually. Sedin and Zetterberg are absolutely elite NHL players, but Koivu can be compared to Semin as a step back from those veterans.
Mikko Koivu has an annual cap hit of $6.75 million. This season he makes $5.4 million, next season $7.2 million, and in his last season (2017-18) he will make $9.18 million. The money isn’t as consistent as Semin’s, but the signing bonuses available to Koivu range from $1.89-$3.78 million. These are things Semin doesn’t have within his contract. In terms of production for Koivu he has put up somewhat streaky numbers for the Wild. In 519 NHL games he has scored 116 goals. That is an average of .22 goals per game. If you were to compare Semin’s goals per game the same way, in 499 NHL games, he has scored 205 goals which averages out to .41 goals per game.
The money, as compared to Koivu, seems fair. But $7 million for .41 goals per game in his career seems like a lot of cash. Especially this year, making $7 million for 8 goals so far. That is $875,000 per goal.
Assists: The leaders in assists sitting in spots 11 through 14 are Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders, and Alexander Semin. Each of these players have 22 assists. Comparatively, Matt Moulson is a player who has been putting up similar numbers to Semin in the last four seasons with the Islanders.
In 307 NHL games, Moulson has 99 assists for an average of .32 assists per game. Moulson’s annual cap hit is $3.133 million. Moulson will make $3 million this season, and $3.9 million next season. In Semin’s 499 career games, he has 233 assists for an average of .46 assists per game. Again, his average is much better than the guy sitting next to him in the stats line. Semin has 22 assists on the season, that is $318,181.82 an assist.
Points: There are four NHL players with 30 points on the season; James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, and Alexander Semin. 30 points ranks you 21-24th in the NHL. Comparing streaky players, Phil Kessel is a great example for points to dissect in terms of salary.
Phil Kessel is the epitome of streaky. You never know. His annual cap hit comes in at $5.4 million, and will make $5.1 million this season, and $5.4 million next season. In 489 career NHL games, Kessel has accumulated 357 points, which averages out to .73 points per game. Comparatively, Semin has 438 points in 499 career NHL games for an average of .87 points per game. Quite better than Kessel. With 30 points on the season, that is approximately $233,333.33 per point on Semin’s current $7 million contract.
Stats don’t tell you everything, but they do tell you a lot. Even though Semin has been criticized for lacklustre performances and streakiness, his numbers are better than those around him. That being said, those around him producing the same numbers this season are making much less than he is. If you were to average out Koivu, Kessel, and Moulson’s contracts, Semin would deserve $5,094,444.33 a season on a 5 year deal. But let’s get real… It should be a 3 year deal, just to make Semin sweat in year two and have a little more motivation to produce.