Alexander Semin won’t be mistaken as a Selke Trophy-winning player as one of the NHL’s top defensive forwards. But as a career plus-75 player, the ex-Washington Capitals winger drew praise from his Carolina Hurricanes teammates and coach for his play away from the puck this season.
“The easiest way [to explain his game] is that he doesn’t do everything defensively to the book. He doesn’t do it completely the right way systematically, but at the end of the day he gets the job done,” coach Kirk Muller said. “I just said that if he can respect playing defensively and playing without the puck, he’s a smart player and he sees the game differently, so that’s what I’m concerned about. He’s made some great defensive plays, he’s saved some goals late in the game so up until now he’s been good without the puck.”
Semin has a plus-10 rating to go along with 16 penalty minutes in his first 17 Hurricanes games. That’s a mixed bag, even as Eric and Jordan Staal talked highly of his 200-foot game.
“He works hard on both sides of the puck,” Jordan Staal said. “With what he can do offensively when he’s got all of those things going for him, he’s a hell of a player and he’s been a really good player for us so far.”
Eric Staal said it’s easy to tell why Semin is a plus player.
“He’s been very good in all three zones. He competes very hard on the puck; he’s got a great stick,” he said. “He’s got great instincts and knows the game. That’s all you can ask for: you want to play all three zones, you wanna make sure that you’re contributing offensively because that’s what you’re counted [on] to do, but you have to be relied upon in different situations. And for me playing with him, he’s got to be good in all those areas, and he has been. It’s been good.”