Monday, January 31, 2011

A Trade In Disguise?

I didn't get a chance to comment on the resigning of Alex Semin last week due to time constraints. As I look at his one year, $6.75 million contract, I don't see a long term commitment to Semin for the Capitals. What I do see is a more attractive trade option for other teams to consider.

Probably the biggest problem with trading for a player whose contract ends by the summertime is losing not only what you traded for the player, but the asset you acquired as well. Especially when that player becomes a unrestricted free agent who will test the market. If George McPhee does want to move the Russian with golden hands, signing a one year contract gives the potential tradee some comfort in knowing they have Semin for at least a year.

This is not to say McPhee is even considering trading Semin. Let's be honest, he might need whatever offense Semin can muster come playoff time. But it gives him the option to entertain the deal to teams that might be interested in wooing Semin away. It is kind of like a guarantee to play for one year with whichever team needs him most (or willing to pay the most for him).

If McPhee wants to trade him before the deadline, Semin now looks more attractive to potential teams looking for a trade. If he wants to hold onto his forward, he is still an attractive prospect in the off season. McPhee also doesn't take a multi-year hit on an expensive contract if no trade can be harvested. 

In many ways, it's a good signing for the Capitals, until his year runs out and a new contract has to be hammered out. McPhee isn't necessarily nailed to the floor when it comes to a streaky player in Semin. 

Hockey food for thought. 

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