The Dallas Stars added to their defensemen corps on Monday, signing Sergei Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million contract. Gonchar had reportedly been in advanced talks to sign with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, but his deal with the Stars will keep him in the NHL for at least two more years.
Dallas traded a conditional sixth round pick to the Ottawa Senators on Friday to acquire Gonchar's rights. That pick was conditional upon the Stars signing Gonchar, which they have, so that sixth round selection will now go to Ottawa.
Gonchar's contract will see him paid $5 million in each season, a huge outlay for a 39-year-old defensemen, but one who the Stars think can help give a mediocre power play a major boost. The Stars were just 18th in the NHL on the power play in 2013, converting on 17% of their man advantage opportunities, but with Gonchar quarterbacking the unit, they may be able to get over the 20% mark and into the top 10 of the league.
New general manager Jim Nill has emphasized the need for the Stars to get better on special teams and get bigger, both of which Gonchar should help with, even at his advanced age.
"We feel he’s in excellent shape,’’ Nill said to the Dallas Morning News about Gonchar. "He adds not only skill to the team, but character, too. These are the kinds of players that can really help us become the kind of team we want to become.’’
Gonchar played 45 games for the Senators in 2013, picking up 27 points. That came after playing 37 games in the KHL during the lockout.