Caps reach agreement for Semin to return

WASHINGTON -- Alexander Semin, who was sued by Washington for breach of contract when he decided to remain in Russia following the NHL lockout, has agreed to return to the Capitals next season.

"Alexander has agreed to fulfill his commitment to the Capitals, and we believe he can play a key role in our future," general manager George McPhee said Tuesday.

Semin, taken in the first round of the 2002 draft, signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in 2003. He played for Washington in 2003-04, scoring 10 goals with 12 assists in 52 games.

He was then told to report to AHL Portland in September 2004 during the NHL lockout. Instead, Semin went to play for Russian team Lada Togliatti and later Khimik. The Capitals filed suit against Semin and his agent in October, after the lockout was over.

Semin is considered an outstanding young talent, and the Capitals hope that he can team with fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin, the favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, to lead the club as it rebuilds.

"I'm truly happy to sign on with the Capitals for the next two years," Semin said in a statement released by the team. "This team is young and daring, and I look forward to be a part of the resurgence."