Happy Gonchar Day

Thursday, July 1, 2010 ·

Having just turned 36 in April, Sergei Gonchar has played 15 seasons in the NHL. Let's list the defensemen ahead of him in scoring during that time period. Nick Lidstrom, 889 points. That is all.

Gonchar's 684 points are 31 more than the recently retired Scott Niedermayer. Throw in 80 points in 118 playoff games and a Stanley Cup, and slick power play specialist will be the most accomplished defenseman to ever have the centurion emblazoned on his chest. Sens fans know all too well what he can do first hand, having gone 3-1 vs Ottawa in the playoffs in his career(you forgot the '98 Caps didn't you).

As you can tell by now, I think Sens fans should love this signing. A 5.5 million dollar cap hit for 3 seasons is a good chunk of change for a 36 year old player, but this guy's worth it. He wants to play for Russia in Sochi in 4 years, so you know he's motivated to keep his game at a high level. If you are worried about not having enough money to re-sign Chris Phillips, don't. Kovalev's 5 million comes off the books after this season, as does Ruutu's 1.3 million.

Beyond the obvious tangible impact Gonchar will have on the ice, the intangible impact of having a skilled defenseman with his experience onboard for a few years can only be positive for the likes of Karlsson, Rundblad, Cowen and Wiercioch. The 3 year term on Gonchar fits nicely as in 3 years you'd have to figure that young group has a good chance of being a large part of the core.

So with that, it was a very successful Canada Day for Bryan Murray. But, he's not done. The money says he can't be. With Winchester re-signing today the club has in the neighbourhood of 3-4 million left under the cap with Regin, Foligno and Campoli left to sign. That's gonna be tight, too tight. Moves have to be coming. Two things to consider:

1. This team potentially has too many forwards. 10 on one way deals, 2 RFA's(Regin and Foligno), and at least 3 more on 2 ways in Smith, Butler and Wick(not official yet) that you would have to say are decent threats to make the team.

2. This team has 5 defensemen on one way contracts, 1 established two way(Karlsson) plus 1 RFA (Campoli). With the likes of Cowen, Wiercioch and maybe Gryba knocking at the door come training camp, the club might want to make some room in case one of them proves to be ready for prime time.

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About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.
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