The Carolina Hurricanes entered the weekend in first place in the Southeast Division in a position to end their three-year playoff drought. As we've already discussed this season one of the biggest keys to their improved play has been the addition of Alexander Semin in free agency on a one-year, $7 million contract.
Carolina has been so impressed with his play that general manager Jim Rutherford would like to re-sign him after the season, telling Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer that the forward has exceeped expectations this season.
"We hope that he's here a long period of time," Rutherford told Alexander. "We did not think of this as a passing thing. We said when we signed him that we liked him and wanted to see how he fit the team. We have been very pleased and hope to re-sign him."
He also added that talks would not take place during the season, but Semin has absolutely -- to this point -- played his way into a potential long-term deal.
Recently Semin's line, which also consists of Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal, has been one of the best lines in the NHL and Tlusty in particular has seen a huge lift in his game this season. Tlusty already has 11 goals this season in 23 games (his career high is 17). Semin has had the primary assist on six of those goals.
As of Saturday afternoon he's been a point-per-game player offensively this season and is 23rd in the NHL in scoring. Oh, and about that defense everybody always complains about?
He's been getting the job done there, as well ...