Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford, who has insisted he had money in his budget to improve his hockey team, will shell out $7 million to have talented winger Alexander Semin play for him this season.
Semin, 28, agreed to a one-year contract that will keep him in the Southeast Division. He had played the first seven years of his NHL career with the Washington Capitals.
The Russian winger has averaged 30 goals over the past six seasons, but some potential NHL suitors were concerned about his history of inconsistency. He has often been cast as a player capable of more than he has accomplished. That's probably what prevented him from receiving a longer-term contract.
"We have done a lot of research about Alexander, and discussions about his fit with our team have included people at many different levels of our organization, including players, coaches and staff," Rutherford said in a statement released by the team. "What's been clear throughout this process was his commitment to wanting to play in the NHL, and compete against the world's best players."
Semin's 21 goals last season were a career low for a full season. He has had 54 points in each of the past two seasons, well below his career best of 84 points in 2009-10.
He made $6.6 million last season.
"Alexander's elite skill level and ability to score from the wing fill an important need on the ice, and we hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well," Rutherford said.
Coach Kirk Muller could now have a top six forward group that includes Jordan and Eric Staal, Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen. There's Jiri Tlusty to consider as well. Carolina's salary cap number is now at $57 million for next season.
By adding Jordan Staal and Semin, the Hurricanes have significantly improved their offense and given themselves the opportunity to be a playoff contender. The team has also added defenseman Joe Corvo to give its power play a boost.
The Hurricanes released this statement from Semin: "I'm very happy to be a Carolina Hurricane. It's a great fit for me. I look forward to playing with great players and putting together a winning season."
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