The Alexander Semin experiment in Montreal looks like it has come to an end.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Canadiens have placed Semin on waivers, which means by noon Tuesday he’ll either be heading to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps or finding himself a new home in the NHL. It’s not shocking that the 31-year-old has found himself on waivers considering his usage this season. Semin looked like a great gamble by the Canadiens and it simply hasn’t paid off in coach Michel Therrien’s system.
The Canadiens inked Semin to a one-year, $1.1-million deal that was heralded for its potential to be a cost-effective, impact signing. Now it appears he could become a cap friendly waiver-wire pickup. Semin’s previous deal, a five-year, $35-million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, had been bought out following a disappointing six-goal, 19-point performance in 2014-15. It was just the second season of the big-money deal that had been handed to Semin after the winger was a point-per-game player for Carolina during the lockout-shortened season.
Semin’s season in Montreal has been up and down, with him out of the lineup for stretches of the early season. In the 10-game span from Oct. 29 to Nov. 19, Semin played just twice, including what was then a season-low 6:48 in a Nov. 16 meeting with the Vancouver Canucks. For the past five outings, Semin has been watching from the sideline due to a lower-body injury suffered against the New York Rangers.
Semin possesses one of the best wrist shots in the game and he’s a swift skater, but he’s had a tough time finding a fit in the league since leaving the Washington Capitals following the 2011-12 season. All of Semin’s best seasons came as a member of the Capitals, including a 40-goal, 84-point season in 2009-10.
It’s worth wondering if, after his recent struggles, anyone will take a shot on Semin and pick him up via waivers. His cap hit isn’t such that it should scare off any potential suitors, and, as of Monday, there are only five teams — the Canucks, Capitals, Blackhawks, Rangers and Penguins — that wouldn’t be able to fit the three-time 30-goal man under the cap. If there’s a club looking for a cheap depth scorer, Semin has the potential be a great fit. He would certainly be useful, at the very least, as the triggerman on a struggling power play.
While he’s again had a difficult time piling up the points, Semin’s one goal and four points in 15 games isn’t the whole story. He’s been one of the best shot generators on the Canadiens this season, getting 34.2 shots on goal per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5. He’s also produced the 2.79 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, the most of any Habs regular. Whether or not his underlying numbers sway anyone into biting, though, is anyone’s guess.