Eric Staal seems assured of having a new scoring threat on his wing at the start of the next National Hockey League season.
The Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday agreed to a one-year, $7-million US deal with free-agent left-winger Alexander Semin, giving head coach Kirk Muller the choice to play him alongside Staal or pair him with another young talent in Jeff Skinner.
The signing of Semin follows Carolina's acquisition of Jordan Staal, Eric's brother, on June 22 in a trade that saw Brandon Sutter, a first-round draft pick in the 2012 draft and a prospect shipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We have done a lot of research about Alexander, and discussions about his fit with our team have included people at many different levels of our organization, including players, coaches and staff,” Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement released by the team. “What’s been clear throughout this process was his commitment to wanting to play in the NHL, and compete against the world’s best players.
“Alexander’s elite skill level and ability to score from the wing fill an important need on the ice, and we hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well."
Semin, 28, ranked second among Washington Capitals skaters in goals (21), assists (33) and points (54) while tying for fourth in plus/minus (plus-9).
The Russia forward's production slipped in the playoffs as Semin managed just three goals and four points in 14 contests.
"I'm very happy to be a Carolina Hurricane," said Semin. "It's a great fit for me. I look forward to playing with great players, and putting together a winning season."
Semin joined Russia at the world championship following the NHL playoffs and posted five points (2-3) in three games, stepping up his play with two goals and an assist in his team's gold medal victory.
He has represented Russia in nine major international competitions including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Semin helped the Russians win gold at the 2008 and 2012 World Championships.
Semin, whom Washington drafted 13th overall in 2002, is one of 18 NHL players to average 30 or more goals over the past six seasons, scoring 187 over that span.
With his 197th goal on April 5 against Florida, Semin moved to fifth on the Capitals' all-time goal-scoring list. He has a career plus-65 rating and is plus-92 over the last four seasons, which ranks 5th in the NHL.