It’s finally over!

If you’ve stood by your computer constantly hitting refresh like I did, then you know I am talking about the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes, which is reportedly a 17-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. Yes, seventeen YEARS. Yeah, that is a loooooong time.

The New Mickey Mouse Club

We're going to party like it's 1993

How long, Neil?

Well, seventeen years ago Ace of Base ruled the airwaves, and The New Mickey Mouse Club got some new members: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, 17 years is a long time.

Time will tell if he’s worth it, but Kovalchuk has put up some serious regular season numbers in his career before his 28th birthday: 642 career points in 621 career games at the NHL level. Not bad for the the first overall pick in the 2001 NHL entry draft.

I will leave others to debate whether or not the contract is worth it or how it just laughs in the face of the current CBA, but you have to believe that at least one Russian in the DC area was intently watching these talks unfold: Alexander Semin.

With Fleischmann’s agent citing Plekanec as a comparable player for a salary increase, is it really far fetched to think Sasha’s agent will compare him to Kovalchuk this time next year looking for a similar deal? Probably not. And in a world where Derek Boogaard signs a four year deal at $1.65 million per year anything is possible.

A more appropriate comparable would be either Rick Nash (CBJ) or Thomas Vanek (BUF). Both have around 270 points in 300 NHL games since the lockout at the same age (25) as Semin’s 278 points in 275 games. Nash has 8 years left with a cap hit of $7.8 million while Vanek has 7 years with a cap hit of $7.1mil per left on his deal.

Either way, those type of cap hits would be more than the Backstrom deal – something I just don’t see the Capitals doing. That puts Semin in play on the UFA market and probably playing for another team either by free agency or via trade.

Will #28 still be in Caps red during the playoffs?  Stay tuned, Mouseketeers.

  • Mily

    What will the fans do?!

  • Yow! Interesting insight. This Kovy crap is an absolute joke. I wonder if Semin will feel any pull from the KHL?

    Supressing my fangirling, I really feel like Semin has a fuckload of unfinished business in DC, and I’d hate for dollar signs to lure him elsewhere. He best not price himself out of town, especially since that Kuznetsov kid’s on deck (I’ll admit I haven’t been following the camp much, so I might not know what I’m talking about – just saw some Kuz vid-yas that show he’s basically a Costco-priced Sasha with a less fantastic pseudo-mullet.)

    I think we can all agree that the fallout from ending the multi-year bro-down between Ovi and Semin would be disastrous. Two Russian hockey machines partying in Speedos is a party. One is just frightening.

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  • Dave

    Sasha is a soft, one-way player…….great skills, but no heart and disappears in the big games. Use him for trade bait……

  • a

    kovalchuk’s cap hit is 6 million, exactly the same as semin’s. Bringing semin back next year was already going to be tricky. I dont see how this changes things one way or the other at all.

  • I think we have to see what kind of season Semin has up to March this year. Last year one of his healthier seasons…if he ends up being injury plagued this year and missing tons of games, that could make a big difference, not only in Caps’ interest level in keeping him but in what kind of trade bait he could be. I think he would end up in KHL if he doesn’t end up in Washington.

  • Peter Hassett

    Semin had a career-best season last year. He’s among the top 10 or 15 players in the league. For every bad pass or bad penalty you can name, I can show you a stretch or saucer pass that leads to a GWG. For every claim of him being aloof, I can show you the video of Semin sitting on the bench wall and being the first guy on the ice to celebrate after a shoot-out win.

    However, the playoffs did happen just like we remember.

    I don’t think Alex will end up in the KHL. I think he wants to be in D.C., and both he and GMGM are motivated to reach a deal. The only question is if the money exists to make it happen.

  • I don’t disagree that Semin is misjudged as a player overall but when dealing with unions, such as the NHLPA, a player taking less than market value hurts ALL players, and I don’t see them “allowing” it.

    Besides, does anyone see the Caps giving Semin more than Backstrom ($67mil, 10yrs)? Especially with Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble also becoming UFAs AND Alzner AND both goalies due for raises via RFA?

    Then in the summer after that they have to re-up Carlson, Mike Green and Eric Fehr cause they will be RFAs.

    I just don’t see it.


  • JC

    Semin should have already been traded. He’ll walk for nothing at the end of the season. I’d be shocked if he took a hometown discount on his next contract.

  • Dirty

    They should sign Semin to a 25 year contract. 5 years at 8 million per, 20 more at 500,000 per. That would leave a cap hit of 2 million a season. If other teams are going to make a mockery of the salary cap, why not the caps?

  • Elle

    Oh yes, 25 years. Sounds perfect.

  • Jill

    Semin will follow the money (hopefully right out of town). And it won’t be as much as he or his agent would like.

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  • JR

    I’m of the opinion that if we wait until March to trade Semin it will be too late, and the return won’t be enough to justify not having him for the playoffs.

    Every day he is not traded before the regular season, he is depreciating. I can’t see him on the Caps long term.

  • Hale

    Most of you people who are hypercritical about Semin and so anally focused on his few flaws, really fail to see the big picture with him and what he means to the team. GMGM does not just trade away talent like that unless he has no choice. There is not a single player in the Caps system yet proven to replace exactly the type of threat Semin brings. Even when inconsistent (which I would argue this past season he was a pretty consistent scorer) the opposition has to play him as a constant threat to score at any time. That is better than a consistent lower-threat scorer who would score fewer goals. Semin is better than Kovy with his defensive play. Kovy may have put up a pretty consistent number of points over his years, but he’s pretty much a one-note instrument. The difference between Kovy’s points and Semin’s in terms of making a difference for, say, the Caps, is not significant. Kovy had more than twice as many giveaways as he had takeaways this past season; Semin had more takeaways than giveaways. I wonder if there’s some gnawing in the pit of the collective Caps’ stomachs after this past season whether Ovi’s style of play could ultimately shorten his career, either with chronic injuries or an acute, catastrophic one. Playing with abandon does have its risks and costs. I would imagine GMGM would hang on to his player insurance policy as long as possible. Remember last fall when Ovi was out, Semin was hurt, too, but played hurt until Ovi came back. They basically passed each other like ships in the night on and off the IR list. Be careful what you wish for . . .

  • Peter Hassett

    Well said, Hale.

  • So, about that Kovy contract…..

  • Melissa

    you guys seem to forget, Semin’s contract ends at the end of December, not March. If he’s having a good season up to that point, reaching the Cup will be the only thing on GMGM’s mind…and now that Kovy’s contract has been rejected, I doubt Semin would put his career in jeopardy by trying to negotiate something as ridiculous…

  • Hale

    His contract does not end at the end of December; it is for the season, through June 30, 2011.