Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caps Extend Alex Semin for One Year; Send Three Down to Farm

The Washington Capitals have signed right wing Alexander Semin to a one-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Semin, 26, is in his sixth season in the NHL, all with the Capitals. He has 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 39 games this season, second on the team in goals and third in points. In 366 career games the 6’2”, 209-pound native of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, has recorded 335 points (166 goals, 169 assists) and already ranks 11th in Capitals history in goals and 19th in points.

This season Semin is tied for the league lead with three hat tricks, which came in a 35-day span from Oct. 23 to Nov. 26. His 16 goals at home rank third in the league. While he has been hampered by injury lately, he ranked second in the league in goals (18) and fifth in points (30) in the first two months of the season. His three hat tricks in 35 days were the fastest by an NHL player since 2002 (Marian Gaborik) and his natural hat trick in 4:29 on Nov. 26 was the NHL’s fastest since Jan. 8, 2009 (Bobby Ryan, 2:21).

Semin, who is coming off his first 40-goal season and a career-high 84 points, ranked seventh in the NHL in goals and 13th in points in 2010-11. His 30 even-strength goals ranked third in the league and he was tied for fifth with a +36 rating.

A first-round choice of the Capitals in the 2002 NHL Draft, 13th overall, Semin has 313 points in 314 games during the last five seasons, ranking 17th in points per game in the NHL in that time (0.997). He ranks 10th in goals in that time (156) and is one of only 12 players league-wide to score more than 25 goals in each of the last four seasons. He is on pace to hit that mark again this year. He is a combined +69 in the last three seasons, best of any Capitals forward and fifth-best in the NHL.

Now if  he can just get healthy, get back to some consistent scoring and stay out of the penalty box (so maybe he can drop the nickname assigned to him by many Caps fans - "Sasha Minor").

Meanwhile, three of the youngsters are headed back down to Hershey. Jay Beagle, Mathieu Perreault and goaltender Braden Holtby will be making the slushy drive back to Chocolate Town to rejoin the Hershey Bears, the team just announced.

The move, coinciding with the NHL All-Star Weekend, will allow Holtby to participate in the AHL All-Star festivities set for Sunday and Monday in Hershey (and televised live on Comcast SportsNet).

As you know, all three players have spent time in both Hershey and Washington this season. Perreault has eight points (five goals, three assists) in 24 games with the Capitals, while Beagle has scored twice in 19 games. Holtby is 4-2-2 in eight appearances, with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

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