Without too many free agents to deal with, one of the questions facing the Ottawa Senators is whether or not they’d bring back veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar, though he’s set to turn 40 next year, was a valuable piece of the Senators, especially with Erik Karlsson out with his Achilles injury.
Gonchar was believed to want a two-year deal from the Senators, probably at some sort of paycut given his advanced age. But it doesn’t look like the Senators are going to get the chance to sign him to such a deal. Set to become a free agent, it looks like Gonchar is ready to head overseas.
According to reports, Gonchar has received multiple offers from the KHL, but is nearing a deal with the Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk. This is a club that Gonchar has a history with, as he spent time there during this season’s lockout, as well as the lockout during the lost season of 2004-2005.
Though Gonchar is no longer a guy that’s going to put up 50 or more points from the blue line, he still managed to post 27 points in 2013, while logging a ton of minutes, both at even strength and on the power play. His final numbers included three goals, 24 helpers, a plus-4 rating, and 65 blocked shots.
There’s still no confirmation that Gonchar is planning to head over to the KHL officially, but it’s looking like a strong possibility at this point. It will be interesting to see how the Senators plan on replacing him on defense, assuming he does bolt and head over to join Metallurg.