As your fantasy hockey playoffs draw to a close, in keeper leagues now becomes time to evaluate your roster and determine who to keep around for next year. Over the coming months, we’ll take a deeper look at the validity of some players as keepers on your team. In our first installment, we’ll look at Washington Capitals LW Alexander Semin.
71 pts, 33 G, 38 A, +27, 7 PPG, 17 PP A, 5 GW, 27 hits
What a wild card to consider when thinking about Semin! He's on a loaded Washington roster that includes superstar Alexander Ovechkin and defensive point leader Mike Green, as well as center Nicklas Backstrom. All three of those guys are no-doubt keepers, but what about Semin?
Only two left wings in the entire NHL have more points than Semin in 2009-10 (Ovechkin and Dany Heatley). Also, his plus-minus ranks among the top ten in the NHLand trails only Ovechkin and two Vancouver Canucks, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows, among left wings. He's also still a young player; Semin will be only 26 until early March next year.
However, the problem with banking on these numbers from Semin rests with the rumor mill.
Semin has been a popular name in trade rumors surrounding the Caps this year and will likely continue to be as long as he's young and productive. He'll make $6 million in 2010-11, but will have a cap number of $4.6 million and will be in the final year of his contract. The one remaining season and the cap number will draw a lot of interest in the young wing from all over the league, and the reality that he could solve a number of Washington's issues single-handedly could make keeping him in the nation's capital a tough decision for the Caps.
The Caps don't have the significant cap concerns that a team like the Chicago Blackhawks does, but that doesn't mean they'll be silent on the trade market this summer. Depending on how the playoffs end up, the Caps will need to add a lot of players to fill their roster with roughly $20 million in cap space. If Semin could bring back a bounty of players or prospects to fill out that roster, he might be on the move.
If Semin leaves Washington, the consideration fantasy owners need to make is how much playing for the Caps is worth to Semin's bottom line. Because of the overwhelming offense the Caps bring to the ice every night, the plus-minus for most players on their roster is inflated; as a team, the Caps have outscored their opponents by 1.11 goals per game (Chicago is second at 0.75 per game).
However, would Semin's scoring increase by putting him on another roster? Semin hasn't been asked to be the number one scoring option in Washington, but would be on 20 other teams in the league.
Verdict: Keep him. You're not going to get a better left wing in the draft next year, so he's a keeper by default. Keep an eye on the rumor mill, though.