It was the 2015/16 season when the montreal Canadiens decided to gamble on Alexander Semin. Heading into that season, Semin was 31 years old and he had some interesting credentials. He had scored better than a point-per-game in the not-too-distant past and, at the time, he had done well in recent seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Semin and Hemsky injury comparisons

However, in the season immediately prior to joining the Habs, Semin struggled mightily with an injury. In 2014/15 he was only good for 0.33 points per game and he turned in a -10 for plus/minus over 57 games. Still, he was a tempting prospect on the market for one obvious reason: players can recover from injuries and their numbers can recover as well.

The Montreal Canadiens, who have been strapped for the offense in recent seasons, signed Semin to a $1.1M contract for 2015/16 hoping that he would add something to the team.

The gamble failed as Semin only appeared in 15 games with the Habs. That was the season where Montreal charged out of gates but faded big time after Carey Price got injured. Semin posted 1 goal and 3 assists with Montreal before getting the heave-ho. He's been in the KHL ever since, tallying 44 points in 78 games there the last two seasons. That kind of production won't likely bring a 33-year old back to North America anytime soon.

Habs need some surprising scoring

Now the Habs, still looking like they will be strapped for offense, are preparing for the 2017/18 season. They signed Ales Hemsky to a $1M deal for one year very early in July.

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Hemsky, in a story that will sound similar, enters the season following 2016/17 where he missed a lot of time with injury. His production is down from earlier parts in his career (he was almost a point per game back in 2010/11), kind of like Semin's was when he joined the Habs. The downside of the risk in signing Hemsky is that it's possible that he's not even NHL worthy anymore. The upside of the risk is that, if he's healthy, then he might (keeping it real) contribute something close to 60 points to the Habs' offense should he play anything close to a full season.

Where Montreal's offense in 2017/18 is going to come from remains a big question. Max Pacioretty is good, but he certainly isn't elite. The Habs have a defensive lineup with Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Jeff Petry getting the big contracts. The Habs need a small contract to over-deliver and Hemsky is certainly a player with the potential to do that. With him or not, Montreal will likely win the Atlantic. However, Hemsky having a good season could make the Habs more than just the divisional contenders that they were last season.