Last season the Buffalo Sabres got to go shopping, and for the first time in a long time, they got to spend whatever they wanted to bring a player into the Buffalo Sabres to help them become a winning hockey team. Alexander Semin was on the open market, and like 29 other teams – ignored the services of the Russian winger, based on his past issues with playing in the NHL.The Washington Capitals actually had to file a motion in court – because Semin was playing in Russia, and his agent continued to negotiate with Russian teams while the player he represented was legally signed by the Washington Capitals.
The Carolina Hurricanes took the leap of faith and signed Semin to a one year contract, and have now extended the winger to a five year deal worth an adiditional 35 million dollars. With hindsight being 20/20, and the vision of the Buffalo Sabres management team being about 20/200 or so, the Buffalo Sabres should have been the team to roll the dice. What would Alexander Semin done for the Buffalo Sabres?
Despite his playing in the QMJHL – your highly touted first round draft pick was Russian. Semin could have helped the kid along better under the watchful eye of his countrymen. The Mikhail Grigorenko experiment would have worked out much more in the Buffalo Sabres favor. Added depth. Look at how your top line started the season out. Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville opened the season up on a tear, and were the only reason the Buffalo Sabres were not dead last for the opening half of the season. Who did Buffalo have on the second line behind the top trio? Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis. I would have much rather have had Semin on that line. Buffalo now has nothing to worry about – Semin is locked up long term in the Carolina Hurricane plans, and has been playing in the point per game category this season. Jared Crozier does a great job out dismissing the contract year argument, so I won’t get into it here.
Maybe just a case of a guy needing a new environment to play his trade. Of course the opposite could have happened, he could have jumped ship and played in Russia. He could have played out flat. All things considered for the Buffalo Sabres start to the season – going forward – why not have the what do we have to lose theory.