Alexander Semin has officially been demoted to the AHL after being placed on waivers Monday by the Montreal Canadiens.
Semin, 31, is coming off of a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the past five games for Montreal and his demotion came after a difficult start to his season which saw him become a healthy scratch for eight games and muster just one goal and four points in 15 games. Semin officially cleared waivers Tuesday at noon, which resulted in the Canadiens sending the veteran winger to AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
What this means for Semin’s future is hard to say, but it’s not likely the winger will be content to play in the AHL for long. After signing a one-year, $1.1-million deal with the Canadiens in the off-season, it was expected that Semin would, at the very least, factor in as a depth scorer and play third-line minutes for Montreal. Instead, he didn’t fit into coach Michel Therrien’s plans and has subsequently found himself in the AHL for the first time since his rookie season.
There’s no reason to believe Semin won’t report to St. John’s, but there is potential for the one-time 40-goal scorer to request to be put on unconditional waivers. If he’s put on unconditional waivers, it would allow for him to be released from his contract with the Canadiens and pursue opportunities overseas.
One development when it comes to Semin’s future is that he may be ready to explore his options in the KHL. Semin, a native of Russia, reportedly was unwilling to discuss playing in the KHL during the off-season, according to Sports-Express.ru’s Igor Eronko. However, his tune may have changed. According to TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie, Semin’s agent is looking at options in the KHL and Europe, which means Semin’s time in the NHL could be coming to a close.
Semin has struggled mightily over the past two seasons, scoring seven goals and 23 points over his past 72 games split between Montreal and the Carolina Hurricanes. The veteran winger also had his five-year, $35-million contract with the Hurricanes bought out after just two seasons, including a career-worst six-goal, 19-point season in 2014-15.
All of Semin’s best seasons came while he was a member of the Washington Capitals from 2003 to 2012. Semin scored 30 goals three times as a Capital, including a 40-goal, 84-point campaign in 2009-10. He has not cracked the 60-point plateau since then, however.
If Semin does return to the KHL, three teams to watch are Traktor Chelyabinsk, Lada Togliatti and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. Semin began his pro career with Traktor before signing with Lada the season prior to coming to the NHL, to whom he returned during the 2004-05 lockout and continued to play with until the 2006-07 season. During the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season, Semin played for Torpedo.