Tracking the Storm

Semin a Perfect Fit with Canes

Wednesday, 05.8.2013 / 9:15 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Semin a Perfect Fit with Canes
When Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford signed forward Alexander Semin in July 2012, it was seen as a low-risk, high-reward acquisition; Semin was an elite talent, but a year-long contract wouldn’t hamper the Hurricanes in a square-peg-in-a-round-hole situation.

Michael Smith
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As it turned out, Semin was the perfect fit.

Just ask him.

“I’m very happy. It’s not a good season (for the team), but for me, I like playing here,” he said in an English-speaking exit interview. “It’s a good town, a good atmosphere and a good organization. I’m very happy.”

Ask Eric Staal, who waited patiently last summer as the team aggressively pursued a top forward to play beside him. When asked if the team was in a better position this summer as compared to last, he offered a simple and confident, “yes.”

“Our line was effective most nights,” Staal said in his exit interview. “We’re trying to build something that’s going to be consistent and be in the playoffs every single year. I feel like we’ve got pieces and parts there to do that.”

Ask head coach Kirk Muller, who said that Semin, while largely reserved with the media, was one of the most forthcoming behind closed doors.

“We needed a player to play with Eric last year, and we brought in Semin. That gave us our number one line,” he said.

Ask Rutherford, who inked Semin to a five-year, $35 million extension in late March, securing the 29-year-old forward through the 2017-18 season.

“It’s hard to get elite players in this league, and when you look at Alex’s numbers and compare them to the elite players, his numbers season after season are very strong,” Rutherford said shortly after the signing. “It puts an elite player in the lineup for the next five years, and makes a real strong number one line with Eric and Jiri.”

In his first season with the Hurricanes, Semin was a point-per-game producer, with 13 goals and 31 assists (44 points) in 44 games. He ranked second on the team in points, assists and plus/minus (plus-14) and third on the team in shots (150). In his last 26 games alone, he assembled a five-game point streak and two four-game point streaks.

The Canes’ first line of Semin, Staal and Jiri Tlusty combined for 135 points (54g, 81a), and the trio was a collective plus-34. Dating back to the 2008-09 season, Semin is a cumulative plus-106.

“They are good guys. I like playing with them. We understand each other,” Semin said of his linemates. “I understood them from my first practice.”

Though often undisclosed, Semin battled through a few injuries, including a shoulder ailment late in the season that impaired his shooting ability.

“Now it’s better, but it’s a little uncomfortable,” Semin said. “I can’t shoot 100 percent, but I’m playing.”

Semin, who was riding a four-game point streak (3g, 3a) at the time, was sidelined with a concussion for the final two games of the regular season.

“This season is over. We’ll forget this season,” Semin said. “We’ll learn from these losses, but we will try to play next year in the playoffs.”

For Semin, a member of the Washington Capitals for his first seven seasons in the NHL, this offseason came relatively early, as Washington qualified for postseason play in each of the previous five seasons (2007-2012). In 51 career playoff games, Semin has posted 15 goals and 19 assists (34 points).

Semin, a native of Krasnojarsk, will spend his offseason in Russia before trekking back to Raleigh for training camp in September. Next season, he said, will be different than this year.

“We are going to try to win every game. That’s it,” he said with a smile. “Next year is a new season with new emotions. We just want to try to win.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72