I know for most of us at defending big D, a big priority for this off-season is finding a way to keep Sergei Gonchar off the ice for the Dallas stars. But many are unsure that there is a possibility of doing so.
Will we have to pay a 7th defenseman 5 million, all of which counting against the cap, to sit in the press box? Or pay him 5 million to play in cedar park and take up a spot that a prospect could fill and still count all of his salary against the cap at the NHL level since it's a 35+ contract?
He is ineligible for compliance buyout, and Nill seems to be unwilling to ask Gaglardi to buy out an expensive contract. Is there anyone that would want him in a trade? Certainly we would have to pay part of his salary.
Or would we?
Depending on the final salary cap numbers for next season, the Buffalo Sabers will have 20 million in cap space to reach the floor. They need to spend a minimum of 20 million against the cap to be compliant this season, and reportedly will consider taking on other teams high salary players if they are compensated with draft picks to do so. They will also likely pay lots of money to sign players like Moulson and Callahan for much more than they are worth in order to take up cap space. Gonchar would be a prime candidate for this type of deal since he has only one season left on his contract. Buffalo likely would not want to take a long term contract for a player that won't produce, otherwise they would have kept Leino. But paying 5 million for an old guy to sit on the bench, eat up cap space, and talk to Zadorov and Grigorenko from time to time over 1 season, that may be something Buffalo is willing to do, especially if we throw in a draft pick.
Cole and Horcoff may be appealing to Buffalo as well, but they still have some value. We don't have a need to shed too much cap space this season and could stand another year of those two. There is certainly no need to give up a pick to rid ourselves of either player at this point. However, Buffalo may want Cole who can still score in a depth role, makes 4 million per season, but has a 4.5 million cap hit. If they are willing to part with a pick, or just take him and Gonchar for nothing, I think that would be a deal worth making.
I know this is almost entirely wishful thinking, but the seemingly un-movable pieces could still be moved.