Forward Alexander Semin, one of the Canes' highest-paid players, could be a high-paid extra Saturday.
Canes coach Bill Peters said Semin could be a healthy scratch against the Arizona Coyotes at PNC Arena. Semin, who has no goals and two assists in the Canes' 0-6-2 start, practiced Friday but was not a part of all the line rushes.
"Right now he's not in the lineup and not in our top four lines," Peters said. "We've got two guys back from injury and now we have the ability to take some guys out.
"I made the decision that I think is best for the individual and for the team. We want (Semin) to be a part of it and we want (Semin) to be a big part of it. We want him to play the game hard and play the game properly and play the game with pace and live up to his ability and his potential. In order to do that, you've got to put the work in and you've got to be mentally and physically engaged in what you're doing."
Never miss a local story.
Semin was benched by Peters in the third period of Tuesday's game at Vancouver, soon after being penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. After Thursday's practice, Peters mentioned Semin's problems offensively and noted he was not playing at the pace needed in the NHL.
With Nathan Gerbe and Pat Dwyer returning from lower-body injuries and available for the Arizona game, Peters had Jeff Skinner on Eric Staal's line with Jiri Tlusty. The second line had Riley Nash centering Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask at center with Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk, and Jay McClement centering Brad Malone and Dwyer.
Semin, who signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension with the Canes in March 2013, was used at times with Rask and Terry.
Peters, in his first year as coach, said the decision to hold out Semin was a coaching decision, although noting Semin's play had been discussed this season with general manager Ron Francis.
Peters said a final decision on Semin would be made after the morning skate Saturday but indicated he would be a healthy extra for the Coyotes game.