The Dallas Stars have made their first big move to address the seven-game winless streak, trading veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens for Travis Moen. The Stars will keep eight percent of Gonchar's salary (which would be $400,000 for the full season) according to Pierre Lebrun.
Moen is in the third year of a four-year contract with a cap hit of $1.85 million per season. He had 12 points and 49 penalty minutes in 65 games last season and has no points and four penalty minutes in 10 games this season. He's a checking unit player, though, with a particular use on the penalty kill, an area the Stars have struggled this season.
Gonchar was Jim Nill's first major signing when he joined the Stars organization, but it hasn't worked out the way either side planned. Gonchar never seemed comfortable adjusting to the Western Conference style of game, and he had just two goals, 22 points and a minus-12 rating last season before spending much of this season on injured reserve with a fractured ankle.
He had a modified no trade clause as part of his two-year contract with a window that didn't open until January 2015 according to CapGeek, so he must have agreed to this move.
Still, this reads like a salary cap move from the Stars. The trade, even with the retained salary, gives the Stars $2.75 million in cap savings this season, though it adds the $1.85 million next year in a lower line role.
Is this a move by itself or just the first domino to fall? The cap space is tempting, but only time will tell.
Here is the official release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has acquired left wing Travis Moen from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Sergei Gonchar.
Moen, 32, has appeared in 10 games this season for Montreal and has yet to record a point. He ranks second amongst Montreal forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game (2:35) and has yet to be on ice for a power play goal allowed. He is also second amongst team forwards in blocked shots (12).
The 11-year NHL veteran has played for Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose and Montreal registering 125 points (56-69=125) and 766 penalty minutes in 690 career regular season games. In 77 career postseason contests, he has 19 points (11-8=19) and won the Stanley Cup in 2006-07 as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
"Travis is a proven forward that does all the gritty things needed to win," said Nill. "He brings leadership and experience to our forward group and will be an important part of our penalty kill."
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound native of Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan was originally selected by Calgary in the fifth round (155th overall) of the 2000 NHL Draft.
Gonchar, 40, has posted one point (0-1=1) in three games this season. Since joining Dallas prior to the 2013-14 season, he has posted 23 points (2-21=23) and 22 penalty minutes with the Stars.
"We would like to thank Sergei Gonchar for his commitment to the organization and his help in developing our young defensemen. We wish him and his family the best."