James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Semin, Canes locked in

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Maybe it’s not as important in less competitive fields, but generally, I’ve long believed that people of just about any profession really benefit from having a carrot “dangling” in front of their faces.* Perhaps I’m taking a page from the prophet Gordon Gekko by viewing certain spikes in production as advancements for the “Greed is Good” motto, yet contract years make a compelling argument.


(Again, it’s not meant as an insult to note that a player might see anywhere from a slight to a significant boost during a contract year. It’s not totally crazy to look at many moments in professional sports as games of inches or a series of tiny victories, so that extra push can get some guys over the finish line.)


If monetary motivation can be a tiebreaker, then the Carolina Hurricanes are going to lose a lot of “charity points” during the next few seasons.




GM Jim Rutherford anteed up big time for winger Alexander Semin on Monday, handing the excessively criticized and misunderstood sniper a stunning five-year, $35 million contract extension (matching his prorated annual salary from 2013’s one-year pact).


This provides Semin with an incredible amount of security at 29 after he had to settle for THREE consecutive one-year deals (two with the Washington Capitals, one with Carolina) in a row.**


I’ve long been a supporter of the winger; my main gripes with his value as a hockey player have come from his fragility, not some nebulous claims that he doesn’t care.


(It’s amazing how much we base our opinions upon an athlete’s body language and what former teammates will say once they don’t have to look each other in the eye any longer …)




Still, I’m a little surprised that the Hurricanes didn’t receive a slight per-year discount considering the fact that Semin was finally receiving the longer-term stability that eluded him for quite some time. Instead, he gets the same hefty price that he had before, whether he’s worth it or not. (I think he’s almost worth it. Almost.)


Regardless of his value, the Hurricanes better love the team they have right now because Rutherford has everyone locked up for a long while and at hefty prices. Just take a look at the guys who are under contract through at least the 2015-16 season:


Eric Staal ($8.25M), Semin ($7M), Tuomo Ruutu ($4.75M), Jordan Staal ($6M), Jeff Skinner ($5.725M), Tim Gleason ($4M), Jay Harrison ($1.5M) and Cam Ward ($6.3M). That’s $43.525 million for eight players! I usually hate using exclamation points - journalism professors despise those things - but it’s hard to avoid excited punctuation at a time like this.


Time will tell if this bold contract pays off for Semin and the Hurricanes, but let me wager on the biggest winner: Jiri Tlusty.


Make the jump for more from around the NHL.


* - That sounds a bit dirty when read aloud, but I promise that my intentions are pure here.


** - The guy’s been dealing with unstable deals for a long time. He had those three one-year deals and one two-year pact before it, according to Cap Geek.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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