by Michael Ham-Fan, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Grant Halverson/ Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/ Getty Images)

MONTREAL, QC- The Montreal Canadiens have signed right-winger Alexander Semin to a one year contract for $1.1 million.

At 31 years old, Semin is coming off is disastrous season where he only put up 6 goals in 57 games with the Carolina Hurricanes. For a goal scorer like him, that is the lowest total in a season of his NHL career in which he has scored 20-or-more goals seven times.

Part of it might be due to his wrist injury suffered in 2014 that required surgery and a long-rehab. Semin says that he was totally recovered from his injury last season, but for a goal scorer that relies so much on his wrist shot, it is possible to wonder if that injury was still bothering him last season. If you look even further back, Semin also suffered a concussion in late-2013. Without making excuses for his terrible season, his immense drop in production could have been a health issue.

At $1.1 million, this signing is risk-free and the potential reward is very high. If Semin can be relatively good by his standards, he will automatically inject some much needed offense into the Habs lineup, especially coming from the right-wing position in which the Canadiens lack offensive depth.

Semin comes in town with a reputation of being a skilled-but-lazy type of player that only cares about scoring goals. To have seen him play a lot throughout the years, I do not think that theses assessments are entirely true.

Semin is a better play-maker and passer than people give him credit for. His 275 assists in 635 NHL games supports that fact. In fact, he has more assists than he has goals (238).

I do not exactly peg him as a lazy player that is hard to coach or play with. Actually, from what I’ve heard, Semin is a very good teammate and has recently improved his defensive positioning. In fact, his ex-coach Kirk Muller greatly praised his defensive and play-making skills, saying that he was surprised that there is such a bad reputation following Semin.

Last season, after a mediocre season, GM Ron Francis cited that Semin didn’t play with enough effort and that the Hurricanes would be buying him out. His reputation might be worse than it really is, but there is probably a part of it that is deserved.

Although, that is a source of concern, it also is the reason why Semin was signed to a cheap contract this late into free agency. Not many teams wanted to take a chance on him, but with the Canadiens lack of offense, this moves makes sense in many ways. He will have to prove himself and show that he is motivated to perform. If he does not, then his place will be filled by a younger player within the organization. The Canadiens just signed a player that was paid $7 million on average just last year for a million. For me, it sounds like this is a good gamble.

I think that even at this stage of his career, Semin still has one of the best shots in the league. This is a player that isn’t that far removed from terrorizing opposing goaltenders with his wrist shot. I am convinced that his speed and his shot will be a very valuable asset to this Habs team. At the very least, he will bring some excitement in a city that has a history of love affairs with goal-scorers, when they actually do what they do best.

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Lien vers mes articles en français : http://fr.allhabs.net/author/mhamfan/ -------------------Michael is a Staff Writer for All Habs Magazine. He completed a bachelor's degree in Psychology at the Université de Montréal and is now doing his Masters' degree at the Université de Sherbrooke in Clinical Sciences. Michael has been a hockey fan and a Habs fans pretty much all his life, so for the last two decades and a half. He was born in Montreal to a Chinese mother and a Honduran-Chinese father, so he is fluent in French, English and Cantonese. He understands Spanish and Mandarin but not enough to speak it. His objective in writing is to give information and to give his opinion. At no point will he try to act as an expert on the subject. Michael is humbled to be able to write on hockey and that has always been a dream for him. He attends a lot of hockey games and practices during the year (Habs, Juniors etc.) and when he is not at the game, he is watching them at home, so he will base his opinion a lot on what he has actually seen rather than what he has heard. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael est un chroniqueur pour Le Magazine All Habs. Il a complété un baccalauréat spécialisé en Psychologie à l'Université de Montréal et il est maintenant, à sa première année en maîtrise en Sciences Cliniques à l'Université de Sherbrooke. Michael a été un amateur de hockey et un partisan des Canadiens depuis les vingt-cinq dernières années. Il parle quotidiennement en français, en anglais et en cantonais. Il comprend aussi l'espagnol et le mandarin sans être très fluide. Michael a appris que la modestie et le respect étaient deux valeurs nécessaires dans la vie. Son approche pour écrire des articles est de donner son opinion basée sur de l'information concrète. Son but n'est surtout pas de se prendre pour un expert. Il assiste très souvent à des matchs de hockey (Canadiens, Juniors, etc.) et lorsqu'il n'est pas dans les estrades, il les regarde chez lui. Donc, son opinion sera basée sur ce qu'il aura vu, plus que ce qu'il aurait entendu. Donc, ses articles ne seront jamais écrits sous le point de vue d'un expert, mais bien celui d'un amateur qui veut susciter la discussion avec ses pairs.
  • Chris G

    Semin has lots to prove this season. Let’s hope that last season was one very bad year and he will bounce back.

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  • Dark Stranger

    I think many of Semin’s problems (career-wise) have stemmed from the fact that he’s not a good communicator. He’s been a guy who is reserved, doesn’t open up to just anyone, and really hates talking to the press, especially in a non-native language. Many times, poor oral communicators tend to be considered “worse” than they are, such as less intelligent, less mature, less competent, or whatever. (I know that from experience, unfortunately.) He also is a guy who, when he’s at his best, he makes it look easy. So when he’s not at his best, he’s considered to be “not trying”. Sometimes, he has made spectacular mistakes, that is true, but necessarily due to not trying. Probably some brain farts. I’ll admit I’ve had similar problems. I would take tests in school and make some mistakes and when looking at my results, wonder what on Earth I was thinking the day of the test — getting answers wrong when I knew the material. I’ve had that experience of being the best student in the class — on a good day. But that was the catch — was it a good day or not. I was not exactly consistent and my grades could probably have been predicted with a random number generator. So wonder if his brain works similarly to mine — in a totally different field.

    Health has certainly been an issue, not just last year but other years too. He had injured the wrist in training camp before the 2013-14 season so was sub-par that year, especially in the first half. Took some time off (due to concussion) and he rebounded after that. But either aggravated wrist injury (or condition deteriorated) and he needed surgery. Between the surgery recovery and a new coach with a whole different system, it was a perfect bad storm. The concussion of 2013-14 was not his only concussion — he ended the 2012-13 season with a concussion as well, so 2 in less than a year. And this was not the first time he had a wrist issue — had it back in Nov 2009, too. And wonder if his training camp wrist injury aggravated his previous wrist issues.