The Sergei Gonchar era in Ottawa is over. Amid reports the pending unrestricted free agent was mulling offers to return to the KHL for big money, the Ottawa Senators obviously felt that they would not be willing to meet the defenseman’s asking price and chose to get something in return for him.
That something turned out to be a conditional 6th round pick from the Dallas Stars, probably contingent on them signing Gonchar. Dallas has a recent history of taking gambles on 40-somethings (Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney last summer), so the 39 year old Gonchar must seem like a spring chicken by comparison. I guess Dallas feels that Gonchar still has some fight left in his legs and he can contribute for 2 years, which is the length of contract he is seeking to stay in the NHL.
The sixth round pick the Senators got in return is a crapshoot at best, but potentially getting an asset, no matter how unlikely it is to net an NHLer, is better than letting him walk for nothing.
The departure opens up a spot in the top 4 on Ottawa’s blue line, which they need to be filled by someone who can be an offensive catalyst. The first two names that spring to mind within the organization are Patrick Wiercioch and Cody Ceci. Wiercioch seemed to fall out of favor of Paul MacLean late in the season, and Ceci is not ready for the NHL yet, so there are definite question marks around the move. Is there a trade on the horizon or will the Senators chase a free agent when the free-for-all opens on July 5th?
UPDATE: GONCHAR AND THE STARS REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON A 2 YEAR CONTRACT:
Gonchar and the Stars have reached agreement on a 2 yr deal, believed to be $5 mil per, $10 mil total. Pending signed paperwork. #TSN
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 8, 2013