The team placed the 31-year-old Russian on waivers on Monday. On Tuesday, Semin cleared waivers and was sent to the AHL. He refused to report, with word of his agent shopping him around to the KHL emerging. And now it looks like the rumours are true, as the unconditional waivers process allows the Canadiens to eventually ditch Semin altogether.
The player and the team will agree to mutually terminate his current NHL contract, which is to the tune of $1.1 million. The NHL will have to approve the termination, but after that Semin is free to go to Europe or wherever else he wants. The Habs will no longer be on the hook for his salary.
There is precedent for this. In 2010, the Minnesota Wild put Petr Sykora on waivers. He cleared and refused to report to the AHL, which resulted in the termination of his contract and his departure to the Czech Republic.
The Canadiens rolled the dice on Semin after signing him to a one-year deal in July of 2015. This came after he was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes. Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin knew he was taking a calculated risk and knew that the salary for the deal was something that could be handled, so it’s hard to say this was a disaster for the Habs.
Still, Semin never really fit. In 15 games, he produced just four points. When Brendan Gallagher was injured, head coach Michel Therrien turned to Devante Smith-Pelly for his top line. Following that, it was Brian Flynn. And then Paul Bryon. Anyone but Semin.
This also in the first time Semin has failed to report to the AHL, by the way. Back during the 2004-2005 lockout, Semin returned to Russia. The Washington Capitals suspended him for the year for not reporting to the AHL’s Portland Pirates, as it was their preference that their players see conditioning time with the farm team.
Semin’s best season came in 2009-2010 when he popped in 40 goals for Washington and managed a total of 84 points in 73 games. He played solid hockey with the Capitals, eventually becoming the fifth-highest scorer in franchise history.
The Hurricanes signed Semin to a one-year deal in July of 2012 and, after another lockout, he put up some good numbers. But things fizzled out in Carolina and Bergevin’s gamble came into play. And now, it’s all come down to this.
This is probably the best solution for both parties, in all honesty. It’s clear that Semin isn’t interested in NHL hockey anymore and it’s clear that the Canadiens have no place for him. It’s time to simply let things be.