Can Alex Semin Score 40 Goals Again in 2010-11?

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With the Capitals signing players like Tom Poti and Michel Neuvirth to multi-year extensions, Alex Semin‘s future with the team still remains in doubt. Some people think the Caps should lock up the legitimate first-line scoring-threat long term, while others believe his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, one thing is certain: This year could not be more important to the young Russian winger.

Sasha potted a career high 40 goals last season and many are wondering if he can do it again in a contract year. From the time period of the lockout to 2008-9 there has been 39 40-goal seasons. This table shows how they did in the year after they scored 40 goals:

GP Goals Goals/Gm
Alex Semin 73 40 0.55
40-goal scorers (2006-2009) 80 46 0.58
40-goal scorers (Y+1) 73 34 0.47

As a group they had an inferior season the following year. In fact, out of the 39 campaigns only three increased their total (Ovechkin +19 in 2008, Kovalchuk +10 in 2008 and Selanne +8 in 2007) plus Heatley, who was able to put together consecutive 50-goal seasons in 2006 and 2007.

The other 35 players tallied 13 less goals on average the following year.

In addition, players in the Top 20 in scoring should be expected to do significantly worse in their next season. Semin’s 84 points rank him as 13th in the NHL.

It certaintly looks like Alex Semin’s trade value this season will never be higher than it is right now – and along with Tomas Fleischmann who some think will score 65 points this year – we think you should take the under.

  • Tim

    I don’t think Semin will make it to 40 again, although he certainly has a shot. A lot of it depends on Flash, and whether he can play 2C adequately. I don’t think he will be able to, and I think that will keep Semin to ~35 goals.

  • Megan

    I think they should re-sign him, he has good chemistry with the team and gets a lot of points. He could make it to 40 again in my opinion, especially if he stays healthy for more of the season. Nine games is a pretty big number to miss, and it’s the lowest he’s missed since he’s been here. Still managing 35-ish points while missing that much time is pretty good.

    It’s also hard to tell and depends on the rest of the team, like they said, this is an important year, I think they’ll be taking it more seriously this time around. I also think he’s valuable to have even if he doesn’t get to 40.

  • barb

    we’d be insane to trade semin. it’s that simple.

  • Michelle

    I hope so! I’m staying positive and taking the over…. Guess we’ll find out for sure come spring. :)

  • http://www.irockthered.net/ IRockTheRed

    I’m calling this one at “maybe,” and sitting hardcore on the fence this time. There are so many “IF’s” to weigh.

    * IF he stays healthy…
    * IF we get “Good Sasha,” as opposed to “Bad Sasha”…
    * IF he can stay out of the penalty box…

    …the list goes on. But we’ll find out, and I, for one, am excited to see what happens.

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  • http://redlinestation.blogspot.com RedArmyLine

    I’m guessing no, but I think he won’t be too far off (maybe 35). He’s gone 37, then an injury year, then 38, then 40, with consistently good shooting. He also shoots quite a fair amount. As long as he’s on the second/first line and gets top unit PP time I think it’s a real possibility.

  • 28ISGREAT

    I absolutely think he’ll exceed 40 goals this season (assuming of course full health). He’s arguably entering into the peak of his career, and it seems entirely reasonable given both his interchangeability with the first and second lines, and PP value that he’ll have just as many scoring opportunities as he did last season.

    Physically, he seems just about as fit as he’s ever been, and unlike last season, there’s not only a palpable hunger to perform (early playoff exit, losing the worlds, etc.), but a massive financial incentive to perform since he’s entering his first free agency year.

    All in all – I think the stars are aligning for Semin this year. If we trade him now, it would be a colossal mistake since there’s no sign you’d be able to acquire a player (or players) anywhere near his current calibre.

    You don’t trade before a player peaks – you trade after, when other clubs are convinced that player still has the legs and are willing to still pay the premium.

  • http://amusingfool.blogspot.com/ AMusingFool

    @28isgreat: Just remember Branch Rickey (baseball GM who pretty much invented the modern minor league system, among other things)’s maxim: “It’s better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late”.

    The loss of potential upside when you’re too early is almost always smaller than the downside when you’re too late.

    Having said that, I don’t know what to think. So much talent, but so little consistency…

    I do know one thing, though. Seeing the WOWY Corsi numbers of the two last year, I’d be loathe (to put it mildly) to put him on the same line with Flash this year.

  • atomic

    You sure are a negative nancy. Sure he can store 40 goals again. If he stays healthy the whole season I would say it it probably over 50% chance that he will. And Flash will probably have more than 65 points if he stays healthy.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    I agree that health is a huge factor, but if Semin can keep his wrists from becoming the bloody stumps they were last year, I think he’s laughin’. He’s only 26 and he still has regenerative tissue – it’s not like he’s Sami Salo, which is like watching Weekend at Bernie’s on ice.

    I think that 2010/2011 being a contract year is not as motivating a factor as it should be for that sassy son of a bitch. However, I think the personal disappointment of last year (Olympics, IIHF WC, and playoffs) will be enough motivation to push 40; not that he needs it. Also, he’s lucky enough to share the ice with God’s Gift to Hockey, that creepy ginger Fleischmann. If Flash’s agent is correct, we should be looking at a 2100-goal season between the two.

  • Barbara

    Absolutely do not trade Semin! He is an asset to the team and it would be a big mistake to trade him. If he keeps a positive attitude he will make or exceed 40 goals!

  • Neddo

    Trade Sasha. He is a selfish player with a great shot. He takes way too many stick penalties. It’s beneath him to go into the corners, fight for a puck, and set up his teammates. For this reasons, he has not been particularly helpful in the playoffs.

  • 28ISGREAT

    @Neddo – He’s not selfish at all actually – he has 44 assists last season. And likely would have had even more if he had stayed on the 1st line. Not sure where you’re pulling that accusation from.

    As for not fighting in corners or otherwise playing physical, its never been his style of play – and never will. I love hearing these kinds of criticisms – it exposes the people who actually “know” hockey from the people who think board checks and physicality are the only ways to assess a player’s ability.

    And as for “not being helpful in the playoffs” – well by that standard, neither was Green. Trade him too?

  • Tim

    Neddo, let’s look at those faulty assumptions.
    1. Selfish? Hardly. He’s had more assists (45 and 44) than goals (34 and 40) each of the last 2 seasons.
    2. Too many stick penalties? He had 84 PIM’s in 73 games last season – 42 penalties. In 6 games, he had multiple penalties. In over half his games, he didn’t have a SINGLE penalty. On top of that, only Perrault drew more penalties – so it balances out.
    3. Physical play? 28ISGREAT addressed it perfectly.
    4. Playoffs? He led the team in shots and creating scoring chances – with a ineffective center and a winger not playing his position. If Laich had done his job and gotten to the front of the net (whether on ES or PP) Semin would likely have had a number of goals. In 2009, he had 5 goals and 9 assists in 14 games. In 2008, he had 3 goals and 5 assists in 7 games. How is that not helpful?

  • Iwatsu19

    Semin shouldn’t be signed to anything more than a three year contract. While his talent is unquestionable, it’s his cap number that worries me the most. With both Ovie and Backstrom locked up long term at close to 16-17mil add Green at another 5 and change, that’s 21 to 22 mil tied up in three players. take into consideration that Carlson and Alzner are going to be RFA’s in the next year or two, both will command hefty raises, speculating 3 to 4 mil annually. That will push the cap number close to 30 mil and adding Semin at 5 to 6mil or possibly higher and the Caps will be rapidly approaching 40 mil on just a six players. This will make it harder to keep the other youngsters and role players. I hate to see Semin go but, it maybe the best move for GMGM and the Caps future.

  • Hale

    I’m likin’ his Clint Eastwood expression in that picture. I’m feelin’ lucky. Now, make my day! Make the season! Take it too ‘em! This is it!

  • Pat

    As good as Semin is, we really won’t be able to afford him for more than 3 years…… We HAVE to win the cup this year, or else it’ll become too difficult to keep our core together!

  • Peter Hassett

    “that creepy ginger Fleischmann”

    mcawful wins again

  • 28ISGREAT

    @Iwatsu19 – Its hard to say, being a huge Semin fan, but I have to agree with alot of what you’re saying. The cap hit is really the problem here – not the player.

    The rationale for parting ways with Semin would have to be that you have a strong (or potentially strong) talent in the ranks to replace him on the second line and the PP unit. I just don’t see the Caps being able to acquire a player that is as versatile or effective within the current system.

    The hope would have to be that one of the younger players (either current Bears or perhaps the newest Russian additions) are able to step up their game and essentially become the next Semin, but 5 years younger. The rationale could be that these players can “up” their games simply by playing with Ovechkin – the whole “playing with greatness breeds greatness” idea.

    Either way, thats a risky proposition with no clear guarantee for success.

    The flipside of course is that you have a proven talent in Semin, which if your risk adverse counsels in favor of taking the cap hit and hoping that some of the younger players will stay on board just for the opportunity to be a part of the team and to play with guys like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green.