On his FOX Sports blog this morning, Spector (aka Lyle Richardson) wrote about the riskiest signings on UFA Day--one of which, obviously, was the Ottawa Senators' signing of Sergei Gonchar to a three-year, $16.5M deal. And he discussed the fact that Gonchar is the Sens' first true puck mover in some time.
Ottawa Senators — Sergei Gonchar. The Senators lacked a skilled puck-moving defenseman since losing Zdeno Chara to free agency four years ago. Gonchar, who had 50 points in 62 games last season (the eighth time in his career he’s reached 50 or more points), should be a good fit there. But he does come with some concerns, one being his age (36), the other his recent injury history (he’s missed 77 games the last two seasons), making his three-year, $5.5 million per season contract a bit of a risk.
While technically true, the Senators didn't lose their last puck-moving defender when they lost Chara--they lost their last puck-moving defenceman when Wade Redden began his plummet into oblivion and started playing like he currently is. That season, Redden had 50 points in 65 games, while Chara had 43 in 71 games.
Seriously, though, does anyone actually consider Chara a puck mover? I never really saw him as that. He can move the puck well enough, he can skate pretty well for a big guy, but that's not his classification--in my mind.
The fact remains: Ottawa desperately needed a puck-mover, and Gonchar is certainly one. Erik Karlsson is turning into one, too. So perhaps we've finally got a couple of round pegs, instead of trying to use a bunch of square ones.