The Dallas Stars traded for the rights to defenseman Sergei Gonchar on Friday afternoon, with the traded sixth-round draft pick contingent on reaching a contract agreement with the veteran blueliner. With reports circling that Gonchar had received a lucrative contract offer to play in the KHL, there was a belief that signing him was not a sure thing -- although immediately after the trade it was made known that Gonchar had stated he'd prefer to stay in the NHL.
Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting this morning that the Dallas Stars have agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with Gonchar that would indeed send their sixth round pick to the Ottawa Senators.
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
Gonchar, 39 years old, is coming off a very successful season with Ottawa after making $5.5 million the past three years. While he was never considered a defensive specialist, Gonchar still has very real value as a power play specialist and capable of moving the puck in transition along with the best in the NHL.
There are some that may feel $5 million is too much for a 39-year old defenseman, but it's important to remember that Gonchar -- like Goligoski -- finished top 10 among defensemen in assists last season. While his numbers have slowed a bit, Gonchar is also a player with one heck of a resume in the NHL.
Gonchar is the highest scoring active Dman in NHL. Only one with 200+ goals and 700+ points. Also, highest scoring Russian Dman ever.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 8, 2013
The veteran defenseman is also considered an effective leader in the locker room and is also being acquired to help provide mentorship to a young defensive group that is likely going to keep getting younger over the next few years. While adding a 39-year old certainly doesn't gel with "getting younger" the reality is this move allows the Stars to take their time with the inexperienced defensemen in the system and not rush anyone to the NHL.
The $5 million price tag for Gonchar leaves the Stars $14 million under the $64.3 million salary cap for next season with 19 players under contract -- a number that includes players such as Alex Chiasson, Reilly Smith and Jamie Oleksiak and does not include a backup goaltender The cap hit and players under contract for the Stars will certainly be a fluid number as the team will almost certainly have to make some moves on defense before the start of the season.
No matter what, the Stars still have a lot of flexibility under the cap even with $5 million going to Gonchar.
We'll update this report with official word from the team when it becomes available.