Sergei Gonchar signs with Dallas
Fantasy Hockey Impact: The Dallas Stars have inked veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million contract.
The Stars get: A veteran two-way defenseman still capable of playing top four minutes and running a power play.
For more on the signing, read this piece over at DefendingBigD.
Gonchar is 39, which may lead to some people's surprise when they see the dollar amount the Stars are giving him. But as mentioned above, he is still a very good defenseman in this league, and he shores up a major weakness in Dallas (a top four defenseman).
Jim Nill is being very aggressive in improving the Dallas defense. This may also open up the door to trade one of their puck movers – Alex Goligoski, perhaps?
More on Gonchar:
Gonchar can still play at a high level in the NHL. It’s not at all a coincidence that with Erik Karlsson missing for most of the year, the Senators turned to Gonchar to take over that offensive defenseman role, and he finished the year second in points with 3 goals and 24 assists. More importantly, a little less than half of those points came on the power play–he had 12 power play points (2G, 10A) in 45 games this season compared with 14 (2G, 12A) in 74 games last season.
There was a concern among Sens fans that Gonchar had lost his ability to help with the power play after last season, but he did just fine once he was playing the top minutes Karlsson had taken from him last year. He also set a team record for consecutive games with an assist.
The Senators get: a sixth round draft pick
Fantasy Players impacted:
This trade will ensure that Gonchar will continue to be the primary PP weapon on his team (with Karlsson out, he was Ottawa's best offensive threat from the back end). The Stars will give the heavy defensive minutes to the Robidas-Dillon pairing (assuming they are together again), and Gonchar should see the prime offensive opportunities.
This contract strikes me as one that is part of something bigger – another trade or two down the road, perhaps. Dallas needed defensive depth, but they now have a few similar players (offensive defensemen who shoot left and play on the left side).
This also ensures that Dallas doesn't need to rush any of their young defensemen – Jamie Oleksiak, Joe Morrow, and Kevin Connauton, particularly. The two-year contract creates a nice bridge to the next wave of defensemen in Dallas.
Assuming Dallas doesn't make any more defensive moves (again, very unlikely with a new GM in town):
Dillon – Robidas
Gonchar – Daley
Goligoski – Rome
Update: and in Ottawa, this opens up ice time for prospect Cody Ceci. Gonchar was a huge minute-eater on the back end, and that will need to be replaced. Is Patrick Wiercioch ready for top-four minutes?
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Any Dallas forwards on Gonchar's PP unit
3. Patrick Wiercioch
4. Goligoski (could go either way, I think less pressure to produce will help him)
6. Mark Borowiecki
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Morrow/Connauton (short term)
3. Trevor Daley (more of a defensive focus perhaps)