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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Alexander Semin's deal: Why it's one year

By Pierre LeBrun

While most star players in the NHL these days are opting for as much term as possible, Alexander Semin again bucked the trend Thursday by signing a one-year deal for the second year in a row.

In December 2009, he signed a one-year, $6 million extension for this season. This time, it was a one-year, $6.7 million deal for 2011-12.

Alexander Semin
Alexander Semin hasn't played since Jan. 8 because of a groin injury.

What gives with the one-year deals?

"We prefer to see how business is going to be conducted going forward in the new CBA," Semin's agent, Todd Diamond, told ESPN.com on Thursday. "To sign a long-term deal without knowing what's in store long-term with the CBA didn't make sense to us."

Here's one reason I think the move has some merit: What if the next CBA comes with a salary rollback, like the last one? I'm not saying there will be a rollback (last time, it was 24 percent), but if there is, Semin will be able to sign his next deal without a rollback. Just saying.

Either way, the one-year deal is fine with the Caps.

"It's what the player wanted," Caps GM George McPhee told us Thursday. "He's comfortable doing one-year deals. That's fine with me. I don't mind not doing a long-term deal. There's obviously risk in doing a long-term deal and we have a couple. I sure don't mind doing a one-year deal. He can do a one-year deal for the next 10 years if he wants."

Perhaps just as notable is the deal again does not include a no-trade or no-movement clause. Only Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were given those by McPhee. My Twitter feed was filled with Caps fans wondering whether the absence of a NTC or NMC was a sign that McPhee would look to trade Semin.

"That's not the intent," McPhee said. "We just don't have a lot [of NTCs or NMCs] on our team. We did two with Ovechkin and Backstrom. We haven't done them historically and we're not about to start doing them."

And finally, I wonder how much the fact the NHL has asked the Caps to open the regular season in Russia next season played in Semin's decision. He'd certainly hate to miss the trip if it actually happens. He and Ovechkin would love the chance to play a regular-season NHL game at home.

"Obviously, they both spend the majority of their summers back in Russia and always play for the national team when they can," Diamond said. "I think it would be exciting for everyone in Russia."