My first reaction to this was woah, that came out of left field in a hurry. We gave up a 6th round pick for the sole-rights to negotiate with Gonchar. Not too steep, fair market value. Maybe the pick turns into a stud, perhaps not. Irreverent.
What I am more interested in is how he fits on this team. This feels EXACTLY like the Jagr signing last year. We got Ray Whitney and everyone was oohing and aahing the Stars and their shrewd signing of a crafty veteran forward (to set a good example).
Then the big fish flopped. JAGR.
All you read about was how he was "a players professional" and how he does "all the right things" to keep playing this long into his career. He will "set the example for others to follow". Starting to sound familiar? How about when Mark Stepneski wrote up the article on his blog where he interviewed Gonchar
"My priority at this stage of my career is to really have a chance to win every night."
Win. Every. Night. (ok, not literally) But the Stars went 22-22-4 in a shortened 48 game schedule. I would argue that had last season been a longer grind, the record would have been south of .500. So...what is win every night? .750? .650? Either percentage would do us just fine. Are these current stars capable of doing anything remotely close to that? Not in the current state that they are in.
HAH! but that is just it. Good ol' Gonchar has insight into that also.
"The most important reason I signed with Dallas is because after I talked to them I find out they are going to sign more players, they are going to improve the team and they are going to do whatever it takes to make that next step. That’s what made me sign with them.”
This team WILL be drastically different come September of this year.
As we are all very much aware, the new Salary Cap will be 64.3 Million for each team.
I think we can start to see who could be on the move and who is definitely staying.
Kari Lehtonen - 5.9 M
Forwards: 21.84 Million
Defense: 10.57 Million
Goalie: 5.90 Million
Total: 38.31 Million (25.99 Million left)
For those keeping score at home: (3) Centers, (2) Left WIngers, (2) Right WIngers, (4) Defencemen, and (1) Goalie have just under 2/3 of the allotted amount. Granted: Eakin and Dillion will almost undoubtably get raises this year (certainly by next offseason), so that will factor into it (I'd think somewhere between 4-5 million more for the both of them). Chaisson is probably due one also, pending he keeps trending upward in his development, but not for another year at least.
Now...there is a second teir of players that "need" to be Resigned on the current roster (not including free agents or trades). Richard Bachman and Eric Nystrom are the only two on this list that "need" to be resigned. To be honest, if Dallas resigns Nilstorp, I am not so sure Bachman stays, and vice-versa. My prediction is one of them is gone, leaving the goaltending looking like (1) Lehtonen, (2) Bachman/Nilstorp (3) Campbell, (4) Beskorowany.
And Dallas really doesn't "need" to resign Nystrom. He is a good heart and soul guy in the locker-room, but the only things I have heard about him staying was GMJoe1 last year. I have heard bupkus about him resigning since the new GM has taken over. Maybe he does, maybe not. Either way, his contract should be in the same line as his last one (1.4 Million, no more than 1.75 Million a year)
That leaves a couple of sticky situations: Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley. I would be willing to bet that one of the two forwards and one of the two defensemen will not be on the roster next year.
I can't wait to see what direction this offseason takes. This is almost as much fun as actually watching the games. Almost.
What do you think? Who does Dallas pick up that sends eyebrows raising or furrowing?