The Montreal Canadiens have signed free-agent right wing Alexander Semin to a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Semin, 31, was bought out last month by the Carolina Hurricanes, who owe him $14 million over the next six years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the acquisition of Zack Kassian from Vancouver, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin goes to the bargain bin once again for scoring depth, this time via free agency. Like the Kassian deal, this is an affordable, short-term gamble on a player who’s been disappointing in recent years.
Unlike Kassian, Semin has put up good offensive numbers over the course of his nine-year NHL career, reaching or exceeding 21 goals seven times and 42 points eight times. Unfortunately, his best seasons are well behind him and he has a reputation for indifferent play. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs under Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, who isn’t afraid to bench those he considers underachievers.
If Semin pans out for the Habs, Bergevin will look like a genius. If he doesn’t, it’ll do no lasting damage to the Habs roster, cap space or Bergevin’s reputation.