|Can Semin silence his critics with a big year?|
Recap of Last Season: Sasha had an uncharacteristically poor year last season, which was his second worst in the NHL. He tallied 28 goals and 26 assists, but 12 of those 28 goals came in four games and Sasha also endured an almost two-month long goal drought; absurd for someone of his talent level. Moreover, the injury bug continued to latch on to Semin, forcing him to miss 17 games and, I think, really hurting his consistency; I don't think he was ever fully healthy. The playoffs, however, were different. He had four goals and six points in nine games and scored two of the most important goals in the Rangers set.
Expectations for this Season: As one of Washington's top offensive threats, the time has come for Semin to bust out of his "inconsistent" label and rip everyone to shreds. If he wants a new contract, he's going to have to earn it bigtime. As the unquestioned offensive leader of the second line now with a young, fast center and a bruising physical presence on the other wing, Semin can be expected to have a big year that equates to his marvelous talent level. He says he cares, so does John Carlson and so do I. Time to prove it, yo.
Playing Time: Second line; power play unit B; first line; secondary penalty killer. As I wrote above, I think Sasha will spend most of the year on a line with Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer, though Bruce Boudreau will, without a doubt, put together the "megaline" of Semin-Ovechkin-Backstrom for a few games. He's also going to play alot on the power play, and though I think he gets taken out of the regular PK rotation (a change from last season) he will still see time a man down.
Projections: 75 GP, 39 G, 42 A, +13 rating, 18:13 ATOI.
The next season preview will feature defenseman Mike Green.