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Will Semin return to Washington?

Alexander Semin made $6.7 million last season and is a pending UFA. (Getty Images)

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Alexander Semin made $6.7 million last season and is a pending UFA. (Getty Images)

Talk of Alexander Semin leaving the Washington Capitals for the riches of free agency may have been premature.

Semin's agent, Mark Gandler, made headlines early last week by claiming his client, unhappy over his role and the team's direction, had no interest in re-signing with the Capitals.

That news, however, caught Semin by surprise when questioned about Gandler's comments upon his arrival in Sweden to join the Russian team at the World Championship. He denied any discussion about not returning to the Capitals.

Gandler backtracked following Semin's comments, leaving the door open for a possible return, though he maintained the winger's role and the Capitals direction will be factors in where his client ends up.

The Detroit media speculated over whether he'd be a good fit with the Red Wings.

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal claimed “most people” could see the New York Islanders trying to sign the 28-year-old sniper, citing their need to reach the salary cap floor, “which could be $53 million next season.”

If the Isles lose right winger P.A. Parenteau to free agency, Semin is a plausible replacement on the first line with center John Tavares and left winger Matt Moulson.

While the Isles must reach the cap floor, it remains to be seen if they invest in a big-ticket forward, as bolstering their defense appears their priority.

It's been suggested Semin's unwillingness to improve his overall game will hurt his free agent value, but given the absence of available free agent talent he should still generate considerable interest from NHL clubs in need of scoring depth.

WHERE’S PARISE HEADED?

New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise's focus is currently on his club's Eastern Conference final series against the arch-rival Rangers, but the media guessing game over where he'll play after this season continues to dog him.

Parise's father, former NHLer J-P Parise, was quoted last week saying the Rangers would be a good fit for his son if he doesn't re-sign with the Devils.

Parise had no comment, while his father quickly issued a statement saying he wasn't speaking for his son.

If Parise does become an unrestricted free agent, Damien Cox of the Toronto Sun doubts the Maple Leafs would pursue him, as their focus will be on acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Rick Nash.

Philly.com's Sam Carchidi suggested Parise would be a good fit with the Flyers, giving them the league's most dynamic offense.

STAAL-ING THE PENGUINS RUMORS

Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal has been subjected to trade speculation since the club's post-season elimination a month ago, but GM Ray Shero doesn't appear in a hurry to ship him out.

Shero last week told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette his goal is to not only re-sign Staal, but also captain Sidney Crosby, who, like Staal, will enter the final season of his contract in 2012-13.

He also hopes to eventually re-sign fellow center Evgeni Malkin, whose current contract expires in July 2014.

Contract extension talks with Staal and Crosby cannot begin until July 1. Shero said none of the trio expressed any wish to be moved.

It remains to be seen if Shero can afford to retain all three, but it's premature to suggest he has to move Staal, especially with a new CBA on the horizon.

 

Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.

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