While the Rangers try to meet Derek Stepan in the middle before his July 27 arbitration date, there have been a couple of noteworthy signings from other teams.
The biggest one being Braden Holtby and the Caps agreeing on a new five-year contract worth $30.5 million. Coming off a career season in which he won 41 games with a 2.22 goals-against-average, .923 save percentage and nine shutouts, the 25-year old netminder asked for eight million in arbitration with the Caps coming in at $5.1 million. A day after the hearing, the two sides hammered out a five-year deal that pays him $6.1 million per season. A solid investment for a player who proved himself in the playoffs posting a 1.71 GAA and .944 save percentage. If he can duplicate ’14-15, the Caps could be serious contenders.
The other signing came from the Canadiens who inked forward Alex Semin to a one-year $1.1 million deal. Considering how bad he was for the Hurricanes in Year 3 getting bought out after tallying only 19 points (6-13-19) in 57 contests, it’s a low risk move. Obviously, the 31-year old Russian enigma has talent but also has a bad reputation for being lazy. On a one-year deal and wanting to stay in the NHL as opposed to the KHL, he must prove himself. This is a player who’s scored 20-or-more goals seven times. His best days came with the Caps where he teamed with fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin to form a lethal combo. Three times he lit the lamp for over 30 including a career best 40 markers and 84 points in ’09-10. Since, his production has dipped which eventually led to him being waived by the Canes after they made a foolish five-year $35 million investment.
It’ll be intriguing to see how Semin performs under the microscope in hockey crazed Montreal. The Canadiens are banking on him to deliver secondary scoring. That requires consistency. For all his ability, he’s never been a great postseason performer going 15-19-34 in 51 games. His best output came in 2009 when he went 5-9-14 in 14 games. Ironically, he’s missed the playoffs the last three seasons with his last showing only three goals and a helper over 14 games in 2012.