As the Ottawa Senators head into the 2013 offseason, they are in a fortunate position where they don’t have too many free agents to worry about. At least they don’t have too many free agents to worry about that are worth keeping. The likes of Guillaume Latedresse has already been informed that he won’t be back next year.
One player heading into free agency whose status with the club is not as clear is that of Sergei Gonchar. The veteran defenseman just completed the final year of a three-year contract that included a $5.5 million cap hit. It’s safe to say that at age 39, he shouldn’t expect that lucrative of a deal this time around.
But he is hoping to be back with the Senators this next season and even beyond. Gonchar reportedly wants a two-year deal from the Senators, which would likely mean that he’s aiming to finish his career up in Ottawa. He’s far from the player he once was, but is still worth keeping around. At the right price.
Gonchar is past his days of putting up 50 or so points from the blue line, but is still a capable contributor. He was a key in the Sens managing to survive the Erik Karlsson injury, logging almost exactly 24 minutes per game during the regular season. He finished the year with 27 points in 45 games, a solid total.
If the Senators are going to re-sign Gonachar, it’d probably have to be at a significant pay cut. They aren’t in any sort of financial trouble as the cap comes down, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll want to bring back a guy who is going to turn 40 next season back on a deal anywhere near what he was making this season.
Signing him is probably the right move for the Senators, as long as the cost is reasonable. He’s a veteran guy and still capable of shouldering some minutes and providing some points from the blue line. If he’s not back, there will be interest in free agency, but you’d have to expect the two sides will at least try and work out a deal.