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Senators for Sale: Sergei Gonchar

The photographer actually did look pretty scary, in his defense.
The photographer actually did look pretty scary, in his defense.

Sergei Gonchar

#55 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators



Apr 13, 1974


Contract status
Signed with a $5.5M cap hit through 2012-13.

One of the finest offensive defensemen to ever play the NHL, with 705 regular season points in his career and 80 playoff points. He's a very highly respected veteran in the league, with over 1,000 regular season games and a Stanley Cup on his resume. Although he's getting older, Gonchar is seventh in defenceman scoring since the lockout in fewer games than anyone in the top six.

He's not getting any younger at 36 years old, and looks like he's slowed down. If he doesn't have a offensive core to work with, he won't likely put up solid numbers; he can't lead the offence on his own. His defensive abilities are suspect, and his plus-minus this season is abysmal. Plus his 35+ contract, with a no-trade clause and $5.5M for two more seasons, does not look appetizing to many teams.

Trade value
Moderate. He has a no-trade clause, but unless the New York Islanders or Edmonton Oilers are calling, I don't think he'll use it. He's been to two Stanley Cup Finals, and has 80 playoff points, so teams in the hunt with a need on the blueline could make a move. Some teams might be the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, and San Jose Sharks--but if a deal is made, the Senators would have to take salary back..

Trade Likelihood
Nil. There were rumours that the Senators have been shopping Gonchar, but it seems unlikely other teams will be able to justify picking him up. This season will likely be his career-worst, which isn't surprising considering how poorly the Senators are playing, but it doesn't make him attractive for potential suitors. That, combined with his age and his contract, mean that there's close to zero chance he'll move on this season.

Realistic Return
That's a good question. If this was the last year of his contract, he'd probably bring in a first-rounder or a good prospect. But with two years left on his deal, and at the age of 36 (turning 37 in April), it's tough. A team might be willing to trade a contract for a contract, and perhaps sweeten the deal with picks if the contract coming to Ottawa is particularly egregious, but that's not the kind of deal Bryan Murray or Eugene Melnyk is looking for.