They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. 29 NHL GMs did this Tuesday, though, as Montreal made the decision to put a potential goalscoring demon just looking for the right fit on waivers. Alex Semin went unclaimed - rarely has the NHL seen such a blatant wasted opportunity to grab a potential season-altering talent by one team, never mind all 29.
Here, team-by-team, is why your NHL GM is a dumbass for not taking a chance on Alex Semin. Consider it a public service.
ANAHEIM: The Ducks need a goalscorer who isn't Corey Perry. Perry is the only Duck in double figures in goals a third of the way through the NHL season. Ryan Getzlaf has one. Rickard Rakell is the second-top-goalscorer on the Ducks, followed by Chris Stewart. That's BUFFALO REJECT CHRIS STEWART.
The Ducks need somebody who'll simply be told "take Getzlaf and Perry's passes and stick them in the net. Everything else, we'll handle". They need a sniper. And in Semin on form, there aren't many better. Let the likes of Stewart handle the grunt work and icky things like "physical play" for him. Just let the guy shoot. Because good lord, do the Ducks need goals.
ARIZONA: Because Max Domi and Anthony Duclair can't (yet) carry a team by themselves and Shane Doan is barely capable of coherent speech at this point. A cheap, low-risk crack at Semin? That has to help.
Also-it's Glendale. Waste 1.1 million and the city will practically consider that a profitable enterprise.
BOSTON: We've covered this at length already.
BUFFALO: Sure, this year is a lot better than last already in Western New York. But the Sabres are a young team and more importantly, they need another scorer. They have the creative players in Eichel, Reinhart, O'Reilly etc...Tim Murray has taken his time looking around for value for money, so to pass on a guy who'd love to play with guys like these and get his game going is...well, a bit strange. Imagine a creative talent like Eichel with a pure shooter like Semin on his wing, too.
CALGARY: The Flames are always looking for goals. In Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett they have two stars in the making. But past them...well, it's all a bit "all Swede, no real Finnish" as the hockey joke goes.
Semin and Sean Monahan, anyone? If not, imagine what Semin could do with Johnny Gaudreau mesmerizing defences and drawing attention away from him.
Apart from anything, Flames are currently playing BRANDON BOLLIG as an option for bottom six scoring. They know what a wasted roster spot is. Semin can't be worse than that.
CAROLINA: The Canes know Semin can score-he got 20 goals for them two years ago. You look at them now and wonder what that Semin would do for what is, frankly, a team that needs a kick up the arse. Their top scorer is JUSTIN FAULK, for Christ's sake. That's not a long-term plan for success.
CHICAGO: Because #capproblems don't fix themselves. Cheap scoring is something the Hawks need desperately. Plus, it's a potential generational talent being woefully underpaid. That was a Wirtz family staple for YEARS.
COLORADO: This team is just bad. When an NHL legend is saying "I thought you guys would be better when I joined you" you'd better start thinking outside the box to improve. Quickly.
Free Iginla, Colorado. Or at least throw him a frickin' bone.
COLUMBUS: They need help from somewhere. At this point it's Semin or voodoo rituals.
Also-Tortorella v Semin would give the media hot-take hernias racing to cover each new development.
DALLAS: What the hell could the Stars need with Semin? I mean...look at that top line!
Yeah...but $1.1 million to have a potential 20-goal scorer on your third line just makes sense, doesn't it?
Also...Semin and Nicushkin. Together and clicking. I'm just going to leave that thought there, Stars fans.
DETROIT: The Wings launched a reclamation project on Dan Cleary, for Christ's sake. If they can make him relevant again, Semin is a tap in.
Also...again...Datysuk and Semin. Or maybe Zetterberg. You're telling me that isn't working beautifully? Not bad for 1.1 million dollars addition, right??
EDMONTON: At this point, the Oilers have tried everything else, frankly. Why not? If he does pan out you can always trade Semin for D help at the deadline.
Also-if Semin doesn't pan out, it makes that Auston Matthews pick look a lot more likely. Win-win, Chia.
FLORIDA: Home of the bargain-basement star. It seems kinda rude to make a big thing about getting great things cheaply then not actually try and get another one.
Plus - Semin and Barkov is like Sashaception waiting to happen.
LOS ANGELES: Because it'd be nice to see Dean Lombardi and his team screw up publicly with an on-ice-related plan for a change, rather than off it.
MINNESOTA: Because the last time a bunch of Minnesotans met an enigmatic Russian, that ended with a Miracle On Ice. Who's to say it won't again for the Wild?
MONTREAL: Because taking a low-risk move on an enigmatic scorer and burying him on the fourth line is a great way to see how he can help your tea....oh, TABERNAK.
NASHVILLE: Because it means that we'll not have to hear the hockey media salivate over "redemption project Mike Ribeiro" any more, and thus this is instantly an improvement.
NEW JERSEY: Because...oh, god. Just do SOMETHING.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Semin + Tavares = INSTANT F***LOAD OF GOALS*
*may not equal f***load of goals, but it's certainly cheap enough to try.
NY RANGERS: Because we all know how the Rangers have a thing for overpaying guys based on what they've already done...this would allow them to be the first Rangers team in ages to underpay one.
OTTAWA: Because if a team can take Chris Neil to their hearts when the rest of the NHL had a REASON to hate him, they can take anyone who the rest of the league don't have a reason to hate but seem to hate anyway.
PHILADELPHIA: Because Semin would be a lot cheaper to bury in the minors than Andrew MacDonald. Also-Semin and Voracek. That appeals as a pair, for some reason.
PITTSBURGH: Because they took noted coach-killing Right Wing Phil Kessel ((c) Toronto Media) and that seemed to work out all right. Semin + Malkin is basically the Russian version of Kessel + Crosby.
SAN JOSE: Because they're paying Mike Brown nearly as much, and you may as well throw your money away with a least a hope of some goals in return.
ST LOUIS: Because if nothing else, Semin is a cautionary tale that will make any thoughts Vlad Tarasenko has of slacking off go right out the window.
TAMPA: See above, but with Jonathan Drouin.
TORONTO: Because if you liked Phil Kessel...you'll LOVE THIS! Steve Simmons is already looking up the Russian word for "hot dogs". Plus, it gives a ready-made scapegoat for yet another awful season. Damage control, you see? Always thinking, that MLSE bunch.
VANCOUVER: Because he's only one letter different from ACTUALLY being the mythical "3rd Sedin brother". Sedin-Sedin-Semin. Admit it, it just rolls off the tongue. Plus...if it works...holy crap. The Canucks might stop sliding.
WASHINGTON: If it worked once...why not again, only cheaper?
WINNIPEG: You've already got Clitsome...why not corner the market in "sex-related NHL surnames"?
Plus, the Jets have experience with Russian reclamation projects. Ask Alex Burmistrov. He and Semin together are two-thirds of the Enigmatic Line.
Returning to the point, what the NHL has done today as a collective is let whispers poison the well to the point where a player with proven offensive talent (to the tune of 40 goals a year) has been passed upon by all 29 NHL teams-because it can't be bothered to get over biases about GRIT AND WORKRATE when it comes to pure scoring potential. If Semin finds his mojo again in the AHL away from the spotlight, this could be something that will see the Canadiens come out as massive beneficiaries, and 29 other GMs looking at a bargain that got away. Twice.