The possibility of Alex Semin
Naturally gifted, fluid skater, exceptional puck handling, and devastatingly accurate shooting are some of the greatest aspects of top NHL players.
Conversely, lazy, unmotivated, self centered, and poor locker room presence are the worst possible aspects of an NHL player.
With a light load of free agent talent, it is no shock that a player who encompasses all of the descriptions above still remains unsigned. Alexander Semin is easily the most intriguing free agent of the entire 2012 free agent class. In 469 regular season games Semin has acquired 408 total points (197 goals and 211 assists). In comparison Zach Parise, now of the Minnesota Wild, has 410 points in 502 regular season games
The generic comparison aside, it is still a shock to see such a highly skilled player unsigned. Despite rumors of an unnamed KHL team offering a three year 30 million dollar deal to Semin, he still remains active in finding a home amongst the NHL.
Pittsburgh Penguins beat writer Josh Yohe, of the Tribune Review, has openly stated that Semin has shown interest in signing with the Penguins.
Is this a good move? Will Alexander Semin fit in with the Pittsburgh Penguins?
The simple answer is no. While Semin is an excellent skater, most of his abilities involve carrying the puck from zone to zone. His fluid skating is mostly used in an east to west fashion. Creating multiple opportunities to find the net on his own, but in the Dan Bylsma system, Semin would not be a great complimentary piece.
Despite his strong puck possession, his offense is generated in the high offensive zone. Sidney Crosby prefers to generate offense from down low and behind the net. While it seems that this would compliment, both players are known more for their puck handling and generating offense from this aspect. Neither player seems comfortable in becoming a stationary piece to the others style of play.
On the outside, it seems that a more prototypical power forward would be best suited to play alongside Crosby and since Evgeni Malkin already has established wingers, it seems that the signing of Semin is not the Pittsburgh Penguins top priority.
The Penguins have insisted to all that their greater goal is to develop the talent already within their system. Players such as Tyler Kennedy, Eric Tangradi, and prospect Beau Bennette will all see time this upcoming camp on the wing with Sidney Crosby. If any of these young players can develop chemistry with Crosby, the Penguins can hold on to valuable cap space and continue to extend core personnel--considering Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are due for contract extensions on July 1 of 2013.
Regardless, if the Pittsburgh Penguins are able to sign Semin to a simplistic deal consisting of one to two seasons and no more than 5.5 AAV, there would be no apparent cap issues for Pittsburgh to further pursue additional help later in the season.