Alexander Semin is a Carolina Hurricane. Big whoop.
I want to start by saying that I am not bitter over Semin going to the Canes, nor was I ever excited to sign him.
This has nothing to do with Semin's ability. He is one of the best scorers in the NHL. Other than Kovy and Elias, we could use some help in that regard. In fact, I would have loved to sign Semin to a 1 year, 7 million dollar deal, or most any deal to that matter, if it weren't for our current cap situation.
We have a lot of free agents next year, in case you didn't know. At the beginning of free agency, I looked at our Capgeek page (click for the updated one). Elias, Zubrus, Clarkson, Zajac, and Zidlicky are unrestricted free agents. These five players account for just under $20 million of salary. However, because they are UFA's, they will likely command more than their contracts currently stand.
Think about it, if Elias scores 70 points again, you don't think a team would pay him over $6 million, albeit on a shorter contract? Zajac is definitely worth more than his $3.4 million cap hit, and who's to say Clarkson won't command close to $5 million if he goes out and has another 30 goal season?
I don't want the comments section to turn into a "how much money are these guys worth" argument. That isn't fruitful at this time because we have a year until they become UFA's. All I am trying to say is that these guys may want more money than their current cap hits. We need to have space to sign them, and signing Semin to a longer deal (probably what Lou wanted) wouldn't have made it easy to keep these guys.
But where does all this information leave us? It's pretty obvious at this point - the Devils need to have some extra money for next offseason. However, goals need to be "made up". In other words, our team "lost" goals when Parise left, so they need to be replaced. Semin would have almost certainly made up for Parise's output.
I've never been a big believer in the "let the rookie pick up the slack" theory, and I still think Lou has something brewing. I don't want to speculate, because that really does nothing considering there are no legitimate rumors out there. My only reasoning to think a transaction (signing or trade) is coming is because Rick Nash is on the Rags. You never know with Lou, and he is a big fan of midseason trades (something I think will happen this year if nobody "replaces" Parise's goal output).
For now, I am enjoying the weather here in NJ before I head back up to college. I still trust Lou, as all of you should after he helped us reach the Finals.