Alexander Semin signs with Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Alexander Semin to a one-year contract on Friday. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Former 40 goal-scorer posted 19 points in '14-15

The Habs' new forward Alexander Semin will look to rebound from an off year in Carolina where he scored only six goals. (Nick Wass/The Associated Press )

Alexander Semin hopes to re-ignite his career. The Montreal Canadiens are making a low-risk gamble that he can.

The Canadiens signed Semin to a $1.1 million US, one-year contract Friday, the kind of move that could pay major dividends if it works out or be written off as an cheap mistake if it fails."Alex is a pure goal scorer with a good shot," general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. "His signing represents a great opportunity for the organization and for Alex's career."

Montreal got Semin at a bargain-basement price after the Carolina Hurricanes bought him out of the final three years of a contract that paid him $7 million annually. Once a 40-goal scorer and with seven seasons of over 20 goals on his resume, Semin sputtered with six goals and 13 assists this past year.

Despite his high cap hit and talent that some NHL executives consider among the best in hockey, Semin was occasionally a healthy scratch under first-year coach Bill Peters.

"Last year was a bad season for me," Semin said on a conference call. "I not score no points, I play not well. I try going back to how I can play."

Semin at his best is an elite scoring winger who can improve the power play and fill the net. After initially deferring to Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien about his role in Montreal, the 31-year-old spelled it out perfectly.

"Score goal, win the game," he said. "That's it."

If Semin and the Habs do that, it's a win-win. Semin has a history of making the most of one-year contracts.

Beyond his entry-level deal, Washington Capitals never signed Semin for more than two seasons at a time. He made $6 million and then $6.7 million on consecutive one-year contracts, putting up 28 and then 21 goals before the Capitals opted not to bring him back.

When the Hurricanes signed Semin for one year at $7 million, he was a point-a-game player during the lockout-shortened season. That led then-Carolina GM Jim Rutherford to extend him at that value for five more years.

Semin still scored 22 goals in 2013-14 but his total production dropped and then cratered this past season. GM Ron Francis decided to swallow the buyout money, $14 million over the next six years, to get out from his contract.

"We thank Alex for his time in Carolina and wish him the best for the future," Francis said in a one-sentence statement at the time.

Semin's future is in Montreal, but even Bergevin said in a statement the Habs were "pleased to have reached a short term agreement" with him.

The KHL was never an option, so Semin spoke with fellow Russian Andrei Markov and came away feeling good about the Habs. He was already a big fan of the city.

"I like Montreal," Semin said. "I like this town, I like fans here. It's a good atmosphere and good people and team, good organization. I talked with Markov about the city and team, too. He said it's coming to us and we'll try to win the Stanley Cup."