Originally posted on Turner Sports Desk  |  Last updated 6/27/12
For some of us Caps fans who were around prior the Ovechkin era the wait for Alexander Semin to become the player envisioned and have been teased by is a long wait for a ship that never showed up. 
Everyone agrees that Semin is a unique talent but he is also the longest tenured Cap and there are four things we know about Alexander Semin:
1. He is not a physical player 2. He is inconsistent 3. He takes a lot of penalties for someone who is not physical 4. More than one of his former teammates have questioned his desire to win
The Semin apologists will dismiss this as disgruntled former employees but as they say...if two people say you're drunk it's time to hand over the car keys. 
Caps new Head Coach, Adam Oates is going to introduce an aggressive, physical style of hockey that Alexander Semin will likely struggle with. Semin will not hit you but he will hook you which is going to hurt his team more than help (proven fact). Despite all of the talk that Adam Oates is offensive minded people forget Oates created most of his offense in St. Louis, Boston and Washington by playing solid defense and capitalizing on mistakes or by forcing them. The players who will benefit most from Oates are the Centers. Nicklas Backstrom will get much better and Mike Ribeiro is sure to benefit from Oates experience as the master play-making center of his time. Oates wants two-way players that are allergic to laziness and Semin is going to have a problem with that. I say that not based on a guess but from YEARS of watching him play. I once drank the kool-aid of hoping Semin would get better...but I woke up.
Now to directly address the Myth that Semin is irreplaceable. In this particular case I'll pick a player and show you he is replaceable with just the numbers. 
Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks requested a trade for various reasons. He is exactly the type of player the Caps need if they are going to be a more physical and aggressive team. Ryan is a good two-way player who can score goals, be physical and is not lazy.
Bobby Ryan Vs. Alexander Semin Comparison over the past four years:
Total Goals: Ryan 131 -- Semin 123 Total Assists: Ryan 118 -- Semin 148 Total Points : Ryan 249 -- Semin 271 Total Penalty Minutes (PIMS): Ryan 236 -- Semin 270
Semin has some good numbers but Ryan is right there with him in every stat except PIMs which Ryan should have a clear lead. As you can clearly see, even with all the unique talent Semin has the numbers suggest Ryan would be the better fit in a more physical and aggressive scheme. Ryan scores more goals and hurts his team less with penalties. The clincher is Ryan fights and defends his line mates while scoring 30+ goals a season and still takes less penalties than Semin. 
I've always said that if Wayne Gretzky can be traded ANYONE can be traded and that applies to Semin. The Caps will most certainly survive and maybe thrive without him. If he stays at a greatly reduced salary I can live with that but I believe in order for the Caps to move forward mentally they need to chuck some players with the most baggage and Semin is dragging an awful lot of baggage with him. Unfortunately it outweighs all the promise he has teased us with for years.
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